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"The Search For Replacement-Level Replacements Is On" Applesauce: Evans and Misch Head to Pennsylvania, Broxton Becomes Royalty, Bobby V Eats Chowdah

Meet the Mets

Welcome to the MLB Hot Stove, baseball fans! After weeks of near deathly silence from big league clubs, we finally saw some movement on Tuesday. The Mets saw another option get plucked off of the closer market, as Jonathan Broxton agreed to a one year, $4 million contract with the Royals. To the surprise of many, the Mets were actually very aggressive in courting the hefty righty, further proving that Sandy Alderson's regime is airtight in terms of leaks. Unfortunately, some team execs felt that $4 million was too much money for a pitcher who only tossed 12.2 innings a year ago. With the cash shortage this team is facing, I'll agree that the risk was a bit high. What sold Broxton on KC was a hunting trip with former Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur. It looks like Frenchy's infamous toothy grin put Broxton into a hypnotic trance. Damn those intangibles!

Tuesday was a sad day in Metsland, as two replacement-level err fan favorites umm replacement-level minor league free agents chose new homes. Everybody's favorite mystery man Nick Evans signed a minor league deal with the Pirates, while everybody's favorite Mischtery man Pat Misch signed a minor league contract with the hated Phillies. The best of luck to you, Mr. Evans but it's over between us Mr. Mischer. I'm not even going to Misch you! By signing with the Phillies, Pat's proven that he's obviously Mischanthropic. (Can I sneak in anymore Misch puns? Doing so might be a Mischtake but I think I'd reMisch if I didn't. I'd really be Misching out on a great opportunity).

Back to free agency, the Mets are apparently hot and heavy for former farmhand Octavio Dotel. The now 38 year old reliever shouldn't be too expensive and could be a solid arm at the back end of the 2012 pen, either as a closer or set up man. The Winter Meetings, which begin next Monday, will likely yield a lot more news (or at the least speculation and discussion) on this situation.

TRAID Proposals! Over at Mets Today, Matt Himelfarb asks whether you would trade Fernando Martinez to the Orioles for righty Chris Tillman. The 23 year old Tillman was a big pitching prospect just a few years ago but has struggled mightily in three big league stints. All things considered, I'd make that move. Tillman's young enough to still have the chance to blossom into a reliever at the least and he doesn't have the injury issues of Martinez. Meanwhile, with word that the White Sox are trying to deal awesome yet expensive lefty reliever Matt Thornton, Howard Megdal discusses the possibility of a Jason Bay & a prospect for Thornton/Jake Peavy trade.

Jose Reyes Watch: Jose was spotted in Philadelphia of all places, eating dinner at Continental. Don't fret, though, as Jose's visit had nothing to do with the Phillies and he's not even on the team's radar right now. Whew. Patrick Flood, meanwhile, took a look at shortstop contracts that have been given out since the 2004-05 offseason.

Around the Majors

It looks like Bobby Valentine is going to be back in a major league dugout come Opening Day 2012. Despite the team denying reports that Gene Lamont is out of the running for their managerial job, word is that Bobby V and the Red Sox have come to a verbal agreement that will make him the club's manager. Good for Bobby and certainly good for the companies that make fake mustaches and sunglasses. Over at ESPN's Sweetspot blog network, David Schoenfield took a look at what kind of manager Bobby is and how he'll fit the Red Sox.

The Cubs have shown interest in Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, while Mariners' GM Jack Zduriencik is not tipping his hand. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is giving Theo Epstein free reign to allow Carlos Zambrano to play his way back onto the team. It's not surprising that there's no market for a volatile, expensive, declining starting pitcher.

The Giants have extended the contracts of manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean through 2013, meaning that the Giants' veteranophilia will continue unimpeded. In other front office news, Greg Maddux has left the Cubs front office to join the Rangers and his brother Mike, who's the pitching coach there.

I think I've figured out Ned Coletti's offseason plan: overpay aging, replacement level veteran bench players. First was Juan Rivera. Then came Mark Ellis and Matt Treanor. Now, the Dodgers are apparently close to a deal with infielder Adam Kennedy. Coletti just can't help himself, can he?

Finally, NotGraphs gives you a little tool to answer every baseball fan's favorite offseason question: "Is It Spring Training Yet?".