Wednesday, December 8



It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.

1. Aside from the steroid scandal tearing through the game, like drywall through Kevin brown’s fist, baseball’s biggest news is the passing of the arbitration deadline. The WORLD CHAMPION BOSTON RED SOX offered arbitration to nine free agents, Pedro Martinez, Megatron, Jason Varitek, Orlando Cabrerra, Pokey Reese, Mike Myers, David McCarty, Gabe Kapler and Pedro Astacio. Jose knows that a lot of fans are confused about what arbitration means, aside from the fact that the team may not negotiate with players who are not offered arbitration until May, so Jose will do his best to explain it.

By offering these nine players arbitration, the Red Sox have seized the option to sign a player in one market at one price while simultaneously selling his contract in another market at a slightly higher price. This is why the Red Sox offered arbitration to Gabe Kapler even though he has already signed a contract with the Yomiuri Giants--different market. The price disparity allows the Red Sox to turn a profit. However, since price differences are usually small, one cannot make much money off of arbitration unless one does a large volume, hence the offers to nine players. After all, what explanation other than volume could explain Dave McCarty being offered arbitration?

Wait…that’s arbitrage? Sh*t…What the hell is arbitration then?

2. Among the players not offered arbitration was Curtis Leskanic, the hard throwing, occasionally wild righty reliever who will be forever remembered as the winner of game 4 of the ALCS. Curtis has long suffered from arm injuries and must now decide whether to continue as a major leaguer or return to his modestly less exciting life of pestering the beautiful but stuck up Michelle, squabbling with his brother Barry and flushing his father’s cigarettes down the toilet.

3. The public pressure for the Red Sox to resign Colombian shortstop Orlando Cabrerra is really mounting. Jose feels like everywhere he goes he sees these magnetic yellow ribbons on the backs of automobiles representing solidarity with Cabrerra. Jose must confess, connecting resigning Orlando Cabrera to the Tony Orlando song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” is pretty clever. Jose doesn’t have a car to attach a magnetic ribbon to, so he will just “Knock Three Times” in hopes that Cabrera returns.

Alternatively, Jose may strike out on his own and start drinking more 7UP in support of Cabrera. (Note: Or since Orlando Jones is no longer 7UP’s spokesman would drinking 7UP show enthusiasm for dumping Cabrera?) Regardless, Jose will be watching Drumline and Evolution in between his episodes of Mad TV tonight.

I’m Jose Melendez, and those are my KEYS TO THE HOT STOVE.