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Hot Stove taking a little while to get heated up

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There is usually at least one big-ticket free agent who signs before Thanksgiving. At the very least, we normally have a trade by this point in the offseason.

Barring something happening over the next few hours, though, that does not seem to be the case this year.

That is unless you consider John Grabow re-upping with the Chicago Cubs, or Omar Vizquel playing his 22nd season on the Southside of Chicago a big deal, which I certainly do not.

However, the rumors are starting to pick up.

I thought the Boston Red Sox were going to try and make a big splash this winter and that appears to be the case.

Reportedly the Red Sox are going hard after Toronto ace Roy Halladay, and want to have a deal consummated before the Winter Meetings get underway in Indianapolis on December 7. The names that are being bandied about include Clay Buchholz and Casey Kelly, the pitcher/shortstop who signed with the Red Sox in 2008 after being recruited by Tennessee to play quarterback.


The Red Sox are reportedly going hard after Toronto ace Roy Halladay.
Theo Epstein loves Kelly, though.

Boston is also supposedly shopping third baseman Mike Lowell. In all likelihood, the Red Sox want to get rid of Lowell so they can shift Kevin Youkilis to third and get a young bopper to play first, like an Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera, who some believe may be available in the right deal.

I said last year that I have always believed that Texas prospect Justin Smoak would be the Red Sox first baseman in 2010, and I still believe that.

Everything appears quiet with the big free agent names. Matt Holliday and Jason Bay don't want to sign until the other does (obviously one will have to bite the bullet and sign first), and nothing is even remotely close on either front. Although, should the Toronto Blue Jays move Halladay, don't be surprised to see them make a run at the Canadian-born Bay, who would soften the loss of Halladay a little.

You hear the usual suspects with regards to John Lackey. The Mets and the Yankees appear to be the most interested, with the Rangers showing some mild interest.

Lackey, of course, is a Texas native and the Rangers could certainly use some pitching, but their ownership situation is in such disarray, I just don't see that happening.

It seems as if the hot stove is trying to start cranking, but still needs a few more coals to get it really going. The Winter Meetings the last couple of years have been a dud. Three weeks from now, though, Indianapolis figures to be a pretty busy place.

NICE JOB BY THE BBWAA

I have to hand it to the Baseball Writers Association of America. They were right on the money in just about all of their awards, especially nailing it with the unanimous selection of St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols and the near overwhelming support put behind Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer.

Well everyone that is except for Keizo Konishi from Kyodo News-Japan, who inexplicably gave a first place vote to Miguel Cabrera. The same Cabrera who of course was arrested after a night of drinking and smacking his wife around the weekend of the Tigers' biggest series of the season.

Maybe Konishi thought MVP stood for Most Valuable Partier?

This has always been my problem with the BBWAA voting for these awards. Cabrera reportedly got a $200,000 bonus for finishing fourth in the voting. Without Konishi's first-place vote, he probably would not have been in the top-5. Who's to say Cabrera and Konishi could not have cut a side deal to give the latter some cash?

Obviously I don't think that happened, but is not out of the realm of possibility that something like that might occur at some point. That's a loophole the BBWAA needs to close.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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