They call this time of year the "Hot Stove League" because it conjures up an image of baseball fans keeping warm in the winter months by hovering around a warm stove and talking ball.
Clearly, it's an outdated term, as a decent percentage of rooms aren't, in fact, heated by stoves, and those of us talking ball are more likely to gather around our smartphones and tablets than, you know, other human beings.
Worse than being outdated, though, is being flat-out incorrect. We throw around the "Hot Stove" term in my line of work because it's catchy and easily identifiable, but baseball's offseason is more typically a slow burn. A deal here, a deal there, a preseason picture gradually, but surely, coming into focus and fruition.
But it's no exaggeration to say that, in recent days, there's been a flurry of activity worthy of the "Hot Stove" label. From the James Shields trade to the Zack Greinke signing to the Reds/D-backs/Indians three-headed monster to the Josh Hamilton stunner to the R.A. Dickey deal (just to scratch the surface), this has been an especially entertaining time to be a baseball fan.
Now, obviously, the blockbuster free-agent signings happen every year. But in recent years, we've seen the big spending become more widespread. We've seen how regional television deals have helped teams like the Dodgers, Angels and Rangers become the sort of superpowers the Yankees and Red Sox once were on the spending front and how the Yankees' and Red Sox's recent adherence to the limits of the luxury tax, combined with the influx in cash all teams will enjoy with the new national TV contracts, have only made the dynamics of the dollars all the more fascinating.