HOT STOVE IS IN FULL BLAZE

The end of the World Series signalled the beginning of the off-season player movement calendar and the action has been fast and furious already. All the player decisions were trumped this morning when Tony LaRussa announced he was retiring from managing at age 67. The news has sent major waves through the baseball world as LaRussa just guided the Cardinals through one of the most electric World Series title runs ever.

LaRussa leaves the dugout as the third-winningest manager of all time (2,728 wins) and trails only a couple of guys named Connie Mack and John McGraw. His three World Series wins (’89, ’06, ’11) make him one of only nine managers to win that many. The list of accomplishments go on and on.

Here’s wishing LaRussa all the best after leaving the dugout. He was a towering figure for all 33 seasons he spent on the bench.

Meanwhile, as the clock keeps ticking toward the free agent signing period at 12:01AM ET on Thursday, many moves have taken place already. Among the options being picked up were those of Tampa Bay P James Shields, Arizona INF Willie Blomquist, Royals closer Joakim Soria, and Indians P Fausto Carmona.

The list of players not having their options picked up includes Indians OF Grady Sizemore, Braves OF Nate McClouth, Rockies P Aaron Cook, Padres P Aaron Harang and Nationals P Jon Rauch.

The Indians have swung a deal with Atlanta for P Derek Lowe and MLBTraderumors.com is reporting that the Yankees have agreed to an extension with C.C. Sabathia.

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with all the moves at this point, but you need to keep your eye on MLBTraderumors.com and the MLB.com transaction page for the latest.

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