Somebody Fire Up The Stove...

... And let the offseason commence!  Madison Bumgarner put the Royals in a diaper last night and now we can finally start fully focusing on what's really important, what the Yankees are going to do in the next 4 months to get invited back to the big kids' table and return to the playoffs next year. Hot stove season becomes official in less than an hour, when all free agents to be become free agents and all 60-day/suspended roster guys get activated.  Per my terrible counting yesterday, the Yankees actually have 10 players who will become free agents and 5 on the 60-day/suspended list (forgot about Slade Heathcott).  When the clock strikes 9 AM, the 40-man roster will be down to 35.

And over the next few days we'll get an early idea of how many spots might get taken up by returning players.  Monday is the deadline for qualifying offers to be made and the Yankees have a pair of worthy candidates for the QO in D-Rob and Hirok.  I'm on record as saying I would make the offer to both guys, but I would understand if the Yanks passed on Kuroda.

Tuesday brings with it another important deadline for the Yanks, the end of the 5-day exclusive negotiating period with free agents.  The list of  re-signable free agents to consider is longer than the QO list, and guys like Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, and Stephen Drew are all strong candidates to at least get new contract offers to stay in New York.  While it's unlikely that a deal will be worked out with any of them by Tuesday, any reports on talks between sides or offers extended will be a good measure for determining how serious the Yankee front office is about bringing any of those guys back.

The weather's turning cold but the hot stove season is here to keep us all warm.  Break out your flannel, put on your slippers, and snuggle into a warm blanket, people.  It's going to be a long offseason.

P.S.- If you missed any of my free agent case posts, you can find them here, here, here, and here.

P.P.S.- You can also check out Dom's series on the positions of need and markets for those positions here, here, here, and here.  Read up, gang.  It stimulates the brain.