Hot Stove: A Pair Of Tampa Bay Refugees

Once again, I didn’t have time to (*ahem*) shop for some new cereal this week, so we’ve got a box from one of my previous stock-up trips.


A lot of you like a nice bowl of Bips anyway, so I’m sure you won’t mind. By the way, I’ve heard rumors that next year’s Hot Stove cards could appear in products other than breakfast cereal… but that’s a long way away, we’ll worry about that when we get there.

So it occurred to me that a lot of my readers are Dodgers fans, yet we haven’t pulled a Dodgers card. The main reason for this is because the Dodgers aren’t well-represented on the Hot Stove checklist, given that majority of the Dodgers’ big off-season moves have been re-signing Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill.

I’m still waiting for that rumored Yasiel Puig for Ryan Braun trade to happen, so the biggest new acquisition for the Dodgers is former Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe.
So what can I tell you about Forsythe? He played 3 years for the Padres and 3 years for the Rays. He was tied for 5th in the A.L. in errors by a second baseman last year… He had 9, Rougned Odor was way ahead of everyone in the Majors with 22 E’s. In 2015 he broke up a perfect game which Marco Estrada had taken to the 8th inning.

As it turns out, we’ve got a bonus card in this box of Bips…  And it involves another former Ray.  Before we get to it, I’ll point out that it’s from a sporadic set of “unlicensed” customs I call “41st Man”, honoring those players who are liked enough to repeatedly be added to 40-man rosters but not liked quite enough to stick on those roster… Something that a guy who calls himself “Joe Shlabotnik” can identify with.

Richie Shaffer was the Rays 1st round pick out of Clemson in 2012, and after that season Baseball America named him the Rays’ #7 prospect. Shaffer hit cleanup for the USA in the 2015 Futures Game and played in the Majors some in 2015 and 2016.
He was traded to the Mariners on 11/18 in a move intended to clear space off the Tampa Bay 40-man roster. The M’s put him on waivers on 12/14, and he was claimed by the Phillies… A young team who would certainly have a spot for a former prospect, right? Wrong. The Phillies also tried to pass him through waivers and lost him to the Reds. Surely the Reds can find a role for — no, wait, they lost him on waivers to the Indians on 1/26. Four days later, the Indians designated him for assignment and he finally passed through waivers and was outrighted to AAA. Shaffer did get an invite to Spring Training, and he’ll be one of the guys that The Shlabotnik Report will pull for this March.

Hot Stove: Your Minimum Daily Requirement Of K’s

I got very excited when I was shopping for cereal this week, because I found a box with a New York Met on it!  That’s a sure sign that there’s something good inside, card-wise…

So let’s see what’s inside…

Cool, it’s Carlos Beltran! Beltran made a big impression on me from his time with the Mets. I’m largely indifferent to him signing with the Astros, but I am happy to not have to look at him in a Yankees uniform anymore (and yes, I know he was traded to the Rangers for prospects last summer).
If Carlos Beltran gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, what hat do you suppose would be used for his plaque? Beltran has played for 7 different teams over his career, with the most time spent wearing the uniforms of the Royals and Mets… although he’s played slightly more games with the Mets.

Turns out I was right about this box being special, because we also got a special bonus based on the 1964 Topps Stand-Ups insert.
The Blue Jays recently unveiled a new Sunday “Canadiana” alternates in observation of Canada’s 150th anniversary. They’re very… um… red.  Even the Blue Jay is red. I think I would’ve preferred if they just went full Canada on these and replaced the “red jay” logo with the maple leaf used on the cap… and maybe “TORONTO” instead of “BLUE JAYS”… or maybe just not go there in the first place.  But what do I know, I’m just a humble blogger.

What I do know…  Big names like Kenley Jansen, Jose Batista, Aroldis Chapman, Mark Trumbo and Yoenis Cespedes re-signing with teams they played for last year is taking some of the “star power” out of my Hot Stove set… Oh, and I’m running out of ideas for cereal boxes.  That pretty much covers it for today.

2016/17 Hot Stove – I Hope You Don’t Mind Eatin’ This Cereal

I’m sorry, the store I went to this weekend only had cereal that we’ve had before, and I didn’t have time to go to another store to find something different… So you’ll have to make do with some Moonlight Grahams again. I’m pretty sure you liked it the last time I bought it, anyway.

At least the card is different… Adam Eaton was traded by the fire-sale-minded White Sox to the “win now” Nationals.
The Nationals sent a trio of pitching prospects to the Chisox, including their top two prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. As a baseball fan, I wonder if the Nats overpaid for Eaton. As a Mets fan, I hope the Nats overpaid for Eaton.

2016/17 Hot Stove: The Next Custom Comes With The Baseball Card Blogosphere’s Favorite Cereal

For some reason, I’ve recently had problems finding cereal with the 2016-17 Hot Stove cards in them. This week I did find one cereal box which came with the cards…
Fortunately, everybody loves Bips.

I don’t know if everybody loves Edwin Encarnacion, but I’m guessing that a lot of people in Cleveland do now.
I didn’t watch the entire 2016 World Series, but I watched enough of it that I found myself pulling for the Indians. I’m not sure why, maybe because, in that particular situation, the Indians were the underdogs, the ones who weren’t getting the attention, the team which had been waiting for a championship for only – ONLY! – 68 years. This is not to say that I was unhappy that the Cubs won, far from it… But I did feel a tiny bit of disappointment when that final out was made.

So, for 2017 the Indians have Encarnacion? That could be interesting.

I will say that I’m disappointed that Encarnacion moving out of the A.L. East means that there’ll be fewer opportunities for Orioles broadcast Gary Thorne to pronounce his name “Arn-car-NAY-see-on”. I don’t know where he gets that from, but it’s been a source of amusement for quite a while. I guess I’ll just have to make a point of watching when the O’s play the Indians.

2016-17 TSR Hot Stove – I Bought Some Cereal On Sale (hint hint)

So I recently experienced some disappointment in the supermarket…

I’ve been eating Kellogg’s Product 19 much of my life.  I don’t eat it constantly, but it’s always been in the rotation.  A couple of months ago, I realized my usual supermarket stopped carrying it.  Annoying, but I’ll just add it to the list of things I get at another supermarket.  …And they didn’t have it.  Hey, there’s a new supermarket chain that just opened down the street a ways, maybe they’ll carry Product 19… and, no they don’t.

At this point, I was starting to get a little concerned.

I finally found the news on the Kellogg’s website;  Product 19 has been discontinued.  Well, poo.  Where am I going to get my fix of lightly-sweetened corn, oats, wheat and rice?

I went to the local Virt-U-L-Mart looking for something similar and I found this cereal on sale.  It’s not Product 19, but it’s close enough:


I’m not exactly a Prado fan, but I like him well enough because he’s a guy I saw play in the minors years ago.  It seemed to me that I hadn’t heard much about him lately, so what did he do in 2016?  Oh, not much… played in 153 games, batted .305 with 70 runs scored and 75 runs batted in.  Sheesh, talk about flying under the radar.  Outside of the tragic death of Jose Fernandez, it seems like all I ever hear about Miami baseball is Ichiro and “Marlins Man”.

One guy who certainly hasn’t flown under the radar is former first-round pick, five-time All-Star, five-time Cy-Young-vote-getter and throwback uniform saboteur Chris Sale.  In order to acquire this #1 starter, the Red Sox gave up four of their top prospects, including Yoan Moncada, considered by some to be the best prospect in all of baseball.

As the centerpiece of the biggest trade in a week of big trades, Chris Sale gets the Hot Stove treatment.
Will this end up being a steal for the Red Sox, or will it be an “Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and three others for Eric Bedard” trade? I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.

2016/17 Hot Stove – A Box Of Sugar Papi Cereal, And…

There was a clearance sale on Sugar Papi cereal down at the Virt-U-L-Mart.  I wonder why they would be clearing out their stock of a David Ortiz-themed cereal?
Back in September, during the Red Sox’ last visit to Baltimore, the Orioles presented Ortiz with a charitable donation of $10,000 and the Camden Yards dugout phone that Ortiz had smashed with a bat in 2013.  Ortiz apparently didn’t appreciate the phone, although nothing was said at the time.  I will admit that the gifts didn’t compare favorably to the gifts given by the O’s to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, but I also got the impression that it was something of a pushback against having to figure out the appropriate gift for rival players, none of whom are suffering from any kind of financial hardship.  Maybe the next HOF to retire can keep their plans to themselves at least until his team’s last homestand.

I guess we can be thankful that baseball players have only one farewell tour, unlike certain rock bands…

OK, enough grumbling from me.  Let’s see who we’ve pulled out of our cereal box.

Josh Reddick turned a career-best .281 average and a not-career-best 53 runs and 37 RBI into a four-year, $52M deal with the Astros. Of course, Reddick is also a former Gold Glove winner and brings more to the table than the baseline stats would indicate.

One thing I hadn’t thought of when I chose the 1970 Kellogg’s design for the 2016/17 TSR Hot Stove set is that the baseball icon really gets in the way.  I like the way it looks when I’m done, but I have to be judicious when I select a photo to use and it can be a mild pain in the butt… This is all a long-way-’round way of saying that I probably wouldn’t have used this Reddick photo if I were paying tribute to a different Kellogg’s set, but I’m happy with the results.

That being said, be prepared for a lot of batting poses this winter.


A Fake Cereal Box? It Can Only Mean One Thing… 2-D Hot Stove Customs!

It’s November… The World Series is over… Maybe your favorite football team is as frustratingly inconsistent as mine. Baseball seems a long way off.

But… what’s this?

Mom brought something special back from the grocery store… A box of cereal, one that has a baseball card in it!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my “Hot Stove” custom set, this will be the fifth time (Zoinks!) I’m spending the winter photoshopping free agent and traded baseball players into their new uniforms. It’s what I do for fun and to relax. Other people buy coloring books full of mandalas and exotic animals, I photoshop baseball players.

This is the third Hot Stove set based on 1970’s Kellogg’s 3-D cards, and the second to come in cereal boxes.

So let’s open up the box and wait until mom leaves the room so she wont see us digging down up to our elbows in cereal to find the card in the box.

Pat Neshek isn’t the kind of player who gets headlines when he changes teams, but the guy is a big-time baseball card collector so he’s right up there with Bip Roberts in the Baseball Card Blogger’s Hall Of Fame.
The Astros traded Neshek to the Phillies for cash or a Player To Be Named Later. This has already been an interesting offseason down in the lower portion of the N.L. East. Both the Phillies and the Braves have been unafraid to shake up their rosters a bit, protecting prospects as well as getting veteran arms.

But hey, wait a minute… I think they messed up with this box, I’m pretty sure I felt a second card mixed in with all the Moonlight Grahams…

This one breaks my Mets fan heart a little bit…
Bartolo Colon gets a rotation slot and more money than he’d get with the Mets, and if everyone stays healthy the Mets will have a rotation full of promising young arms… but that doesn’t mean I can’t be disappointed that “Big Sexy” won’t be back in CitiField in 2017. It’s made worse by the fact that another Shlabotnik favorite, R.A. Dickey, also signed with the Braves for the same reasons.

By signing a pair of veteran innings-eaters for their rotation, it seems like the Braves would like to not suck for their first year in SunTrust Park. As someone who holds the Atlanta franchise with the utmost of disdain, I hope their move to the Atlanta suburbs works out as well as their AAA team’s move to a different Atlanta suburb in 2009… After 8 seasons, they’ve finished no better than 12th in the 14-team International League in average attendance, and in 2016 their 3,218 average attendance was the worst of any AAA team… and was also worse than twenty-two AA teams. Yikes.

Anyway, the plan is to have a new Hot Stove card every weekend through February, at which point we’ll shift over to the World Baseball Classic and then the 2017 TSR set. I won’t guarantee we’ll have a new brand of cereal every week, but we’ll see how that goes.