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Hot Stove: 1/12

Hot Stove is back and filled to the brim with signings and one very big name retiring.

Record of the Day

Lowest last name of all time (alphabetical): Dutch Zwilling (1910-1916).

Debuting in 1910, Edward Harrison "Dutch" Zwilling set the record for lowest last name by alphabetical order. More than 100 years later, he still remains last on the all time name sheet. He played in 366 games over his career, but 304 came playing in the Federal League, a rival to the American and National Leagues that folded after just a few seasons. There, he hit 29 home runs with a .300 average over his two seasons from 1914-1915. He didn't fare very well in the American League (27 games in 1910), where he batted just .184. Later, in the National League (35 games in 1916), he managed just a meager .113 average with his only non-Federal League home run. He was also near the bottom of most size listings; he was 5'7", 160 pounds.  

Free Agent Signings

Reds agreed to terms with Ryan Madson (4-2, 2.37 ERA, .243 BAA, 32 saves, 2012 age: 31) on a one-year, $10 million deal.

Cubs signed Paul Maholm (6-14, 3.66 ERA, .262 BAA, 2012 age: 29-30) to a one-year, $4.25 million deal.

Mariners signed Aaron Heilman (4-1, 6.88 ERA, .318 BAA, 2012 age: 33) to a minor league deal.

Mets resigned Miguel Batista (5-2, 3.60 ERA, .225 BAA, 2012 age: 41) to a minor league deal.

Mets also resigned Scott Hairston (7 HR, 24 RBI, .235 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 32) to a one-year, $1.1 million deal.

Cardinals signed Koyie Hill (2 HR, 9 RBI, .194 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 33) to a minor league deal.

The Reds bring on Madson as closer, but many expected that the 6'6" righty would get a longer deal, perhaps up to four years. Madson's agent, Scott Boras, realized with the lack of open jobs, Madson would have to settle for a lower price. Now, Madson can test the market next year and get a longer deal. He does not have much experience as a closer outside of 2011, but he has been a set-up man his whole life and will adjust fine. In his first season as a full-time closer in 2011, Madson pitched to a 2.37 ERA, let opponents bat just .243 off him, and saved 32 games in 34 tries. It was the lowest ERA that he posted in a season since his rookie year, 2004, where his ERA was just 2.34 in 52 games (one start). Madson also saw time as a closer in 2009, posting a 3.26 ERA and saving 10 games. He has been one of Philly's most reliable relievers since 2008, where he has posted a 2.86 ERA, 48 saves, and a 19-11 record in 272 appearances (68 per season) over the four years. The 31-year-old reliever leaves the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park after nine years for another launching pad, Great American Ballpark. Over his nine-year career in Philly, Madson was 47-30 with a 3.59 ERA and 52 saves in 491 games (18 starts). He holds the record for most relief appearances (473) by a Phillies pitcher, 13 ahead of Tug McGraw (460).  

The Paul Maholm deal may end up being underrated. Though he was over-payed (in my belief), this deal did not get as much publicity as it should have. Maholm is a quality middle of the rotation guy who can be inconsistent at times but ultimately a positive influence on the team. He will likely battle Tim Wood and Chris Volstad for the third spot in the rotation behind Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster. The Mississippi left-hander debuted at 23 in 2005 with a solid start to a career in Pittsburgh, going 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA in six starts. After a couple of rough seasons, Maholm bounced back in 2008  by going 9-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 31 starts. He had a mediocre 2009 where he was 8-9 with a 4.44 ERA in 31 starts, but after another rough 2010 where he posted a career-worst 5.10 ERA in 32 starts, Maholm had his best season in 2011 (if you don't look at his record). Despite a measly 6-14 mark for Pittsburgh, he posted a 3.66 ERA and .262 BAA in 26 starts. Over his seven-year career with the Bucs, he was 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA and .283 BAA over 185 starts. Here's an interesting fact: Over his seven-year career, Maholm has never posted back to back seasons with an ERA in the same whole number. From 2005 to 2011, his annual ERA looks like this: 2.16, 4.76, 5.02, 3.71, 4.44, 5.10, 3.66.

Waiver Claims

Astros claimed Fernando Martinez (1 HR, 2 RBI, .227 AVG, 0 SB, 2012 age: 23) off waivers from the Mets.  

Martinez was once considered a top prospect but was never able to overcome injuries. Still 23, he gets a shot at redemption in Houston.

Other News

Former Red Barry Larkin was inducted into the Hall of Fame. More in a special update coming soon.

17-year Yankee Jorge Posada reportedly decided to retire at age 40.

Angels signed Howie Kendrick to a four-year, $33.5 million contract extension ($8.375 million per season). 

Giants signed Ryan Vogelsong to a two-year, $8.3 million contract extension to avoid arbitration ($4.15 million per season).

Jorge Posada retires as one of the greatest Yankee catchers of all time, having hit 275 home runs and won four World Series for the Bombers. He was a member of the Core Four along with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, all of whom debuted in 1995 and played for the Yankees through the 2011 season (except Pettitte, who pitched 2004-2006 for the Astros before returning to the Yankees, then retired after the 2010 season). Despite debuting in 1995, Posada did not obtain full-time catching duties until 1998, where he blasted off with 16 home runs and batted .268 in 111 games. This was also the first of three consecutive title seasons for New York. After a mediocre 1999, Posada broke out in the year of the hitter in 2000, hitting 28 home runs and batting .287 in 151 games. That year, he earned the first of five Silver Sluggers and five All Star appearances. He was strong again in 2001, hitting 22 home runs to go with a .277 average. 2002 was still strong but was a bit below 2001, which in turn was a bit lower than 2000. Posada hit 20 home runs and batted .268, but that was a predecessor to arguably his very best year in 2003. The 31-year-old hit 30 home runs, knocked in 101 runs, and batted .281 to earn his fourth consecutive Silver Slugger as well as his fourth consecutive All Star appearance. Then came the three-year period in which Andy Pettitte was off to Houston and Posada's production dropped while he also missed out on a Silver Slugger and an All Star appearance for those three straight years. In 2004, the rival Red Sox' curse breaking season, Posada hit 21 home runs and batted .272 in 137 games. 2005 was his worst year since 1999, where the Puerto Rico native hit 19 home runs and batted just .262 in 142 games. He hit 23 home runs in 2006 while lifting his average to .277, but upon Pettitte's return in 2007, Posada broke out into his All Star form. Despite hitting just 20 home runs, Posada's average received a huge bump all the way up to .338 in 144 games.  He earned his fifth Silver Slugger and fifth All Star appearance, but it would be his last time for both. He missed significant time to injury in 2008 and hit just three home runs with a .268 average in 51 games, roughly 1/3 of a season. Now 37 years old, Posada was back to his old form in 2009, where he hit 22 home runs and batted .285 in 111 games, but it would be his final big year. He played his final year as a catcher in 2010, hitting 18 home runs, but batting just .248 in 120 games. Spending most of his time at DH in 2011, Posada hit 14 home runs and batted .235 in 115 games.  Over his 17 year career, he hit 275 home runs (t-165th all time), knocked in 1,065 runs (t-225th all time) and batted .273 (828th all time) with 20 stolen bases in 1,829 games (341st all time). His 936 walks rank him 151st all time, while his 379 doubles tie him for 212th all time with such names as Hank Greenberg and Sammy Sosa.   

Writer's Note: Sorry that an update has not come out in a long time; I have been very backed up with homework.

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Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves

If your team is not included, please leave a comment.

HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. BAA: batting average against. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage

Zack Silverman

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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