Let's check out the hot stove highlights from Jayson Stark's latest Rumblings and Grumblings column at ESPN.
- The free agent market for super-utility men is strong, with Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa, and Jerry Hairston Jr. Stark says the Cards will let DeRosa test the market, despite the recent extension chatter. Stark talked to an NL exec who prefers Figgins to DeRosa, which seems logical.
- Stark finds it "all but certain" that the Braves bring Tim Hudson back for 2010, but they won't be shopping Javier Vazquez. He considers the Braves unlikely to re-sign free agent relievers Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez. If that's the case, Frank Wren will need to bring in some kind of late-inning arm.
- Expect a strong market for Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy, despite his disappointing '09 season. Which teams do you see in the mix?
- Stark sees the Marlins keeping only one of Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Jorge Cantu, who are all due raises through arbitration.
- Stark says the Astros don't have a shopping list yet for their next manager, but count on GM Ed Wade to be meticulous. The 'Stros prefer someone with experience, leading Stark to join in on the Jim Fregosi speculation.