The first sport of the winter's dead zone fell on Monday, with Alabama beating Clemson to end the college football season.
But as my colleague at True Blue LA points out, the red-hot action is only beginning:
Sure, Monday gave us a very exciting college football title game. But the real thrills come Tuesday, the MLB salary arbitration filing date— Eric Stephen (@truebluela) January 12, 2016
Outfielders Melky Cabrera and Avisail Garcia, along with pitchers Dan Jennings, Erik Johnson, Nate Jones, Zach Putnam and Daniel Webb and new catcher Dioner Navarro, have been added to SoxFest schedule.
The Sox took care of Jones for the next few seasons by signing him to a three-year, option-loaded extension. Garcia, Jennings and Putnam are still officially unsigned, which makes their inclusion notable. The Sox have tended to wait until contracts were finalized before they put players on the SoxFest board, and since none of those three players figures to have a contentious case, it's not irresponsible to assume deals are in place.
Adam Eaton isn't on the roster, but he said he's supposed to be:
Adam Eaton (@AdamSpankyEaton) January 11, 2016
Two other items of White Sox business made public on Monday...
*Additional promotional dates for 2016. The biggest draws:
- May 7: Chris Sale K-Counter bobblehead. Besides nodding in agreement with everything you say, it also tracks his strikeout total with a spinning three-digit counter. My question: Only three digits?
- June 11: White Sox Hawaiian shirt. Looks best on big dudes.
- June 26: White Sox American Girl Doll-Sized t-shirt. Not recommended for big dudes.
They're on the list of previously announced promos.
*Connor McKnight is the new pregame and postgame host for the White Sox on WLS, which wasn't the first choice of the greater South Side Sox community. Alas, we'll get to keep a killer Bill Melton impression among ourselves for the time being.
With that business settled, the only remaining item on the broadcast itinerary is a big one: the arrangement of the TV booth. The latest report remains the first report: Steve Stone is expected to be back, with Hawk Harrelson calling 81 games, and somebody else on the other 81. Nothing since.
This news might wait until SoxFest to break -- especially if it's a popular former player involved -- but further delay wouldn't be wise. The season may still seem far away, but "Baseball Players Doing Baseball Things" starts in just a little more than a month.
2016 Spring Training first workout dates announced for all 30 Clubs. pic.twitter.com/VCZwnlnLAp— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) January 11, 2016