Hot Stove Report: Calm Before the Storm

Today is 11 weeks, that’s 77 days away from the first batch of Pitchers and Catchers officially reporting to Maryvale for Milwaukee Brewers Spring Training on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

The Hot Stove season is underway and I’ve done my best to pass along some information that I’ve learned over the past couple of weeks. Maybe some of it will pan out, maybe not, but I don’t write the blog and do everything that goes with it to keep information to myself.

Doug Melvin at a previous Winter Meetings.

I’ve been asked a bunch over the past few days why there hasn’t been a new Hot Stove Report column lately, or at least comments to the effect of “sure has been quiet”. I tried to head that off at the pass by saying in my last one that I was shocked that they were coming as often as they were, but that’s neither here nor there.

The answer to those inquiries is two-fold across baseball (three-fold in the case of the Brewers).

First, the long Thanksgiving weekend is notoriously slow for baseball activity. Even front offices need breaks and that’s a common time to slow things down. The holiday itself, travel, and spending time with family and friends often leads to a natural slow-down.

Second, the Winter Meetings are less than a week away. An incredible amount of discussing, bartering, speculating, scuttlebutting, rumor-mongering, and yes deal-making happens at the Winter Meetings. Groundwork often gets laid at various times throughout the early portion of the off-season and gets finalized during the Winter Meetings. They’ve become a destination for baseball fans and media types descend on them like a pack of scavengers who haven’t had a meal in three day’s time.

As for the Brewers specifically, the third factor contributing to a lull is that Doug Melvin and his family were overseas on vacation. Not much gets done when the man who pulls the trigger is out of the country. Melvin will be at the Winter Meetings no doubt ready to pursue some targets and possibly (hopefully?) get some ink drying.

But, as I said, there are reasons for a lack of activity which means that there are reasons for a lack of fresh Hot Stove content here on the blog. (Plus I took a vacation of my own over the Thanksgiving weekend.)

This all leads me to my final point to make today: I only post things as having happened if I’ve been told that they have happened. In other words, I don’t just make things up for the sake of posting something.

I haven’t posted a new Hot Stove Report in several days because I haven’t learned anything to pass along. The sources which I have gotten information from in the past (and will continue to utilize in the future) have always provided quality intel and there are proven examples of that information being accurate. It’s a simple reality that not everything pans out. If every idea that was ever mentioned by a baseball person was out there for public consumption, we’d cry uncle for information overload. A LOT of things get talked about that don’t go anywhere. That’s the nature of the business. It doesn’t make a rumor less true because the particular path led to nowhere.

That being said, I could fabricate something that makes a ton of sense and would be believable, but that would be doing myself as much of a disservice as all of you. I get no benefit for floating a rumor out that comes from nowhere. I’ll occasionally discuss an idea that I think makes sense but will always tell you first that it’s purely speculation and not based on any rumor, but that’s entirely separate from passing something along from a source.

Anyway, I hope you had a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. I know many baseball people did. Accepting the calm can make appreciating the storm much easier. Speaking of which, this year’s Winter Meetings begin next week Monday in Nashville, Tennessee.

Batten down the hatches.

See Previous Hot Stove Reports:

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