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  1. Ryan Braun may be innocent

    Jan 24, 2012, 8:20 AM EST

    ryan braun wide getty

    We’ll obviously have official word sometime soon, but yesterday Dan Patrick had something interesting to say on his radio show about the reigning NL MVP’s drug test and appeal: Braun may get off scott free. There was nothing definitive in his comments — a lot of it was Patrick’s gut feeling based on a conversation…

  2. UPDATE: Orioles and Wilson Betemit agree to two-year contract with an option

    Jan 24, 2012, 1:09 AM EST

    Kansas City Royals v Colorado Rockies

    UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is now reporting that the O’s and Betemit have agreed to a two-year deal with an option for a third year. Exact terms aren’t yet available, but it’s a bit of a surprise to see him get a multi-year deal at this point of the offseason. And from…

  3. Padres and Clayton Richard avoid arbitration with one-year, $2.705 million contract

    Jan 23, 2012, 11:36 PM EST

    Kansas City Royals v San Diego Padres

    According to the Associated Press, the Padres and Clayton Richard have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.705 million contract. Richard was arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason. The 28-year-old southpaw requested $3.1 million and was offered $2.35 million by the Padres when arbitration figures were exchanged last week, so the two sides…

  4. New Astros’ owner says he’s considering changing team name

    Jan 23, 2012, 9:33 PM EST

    Jim Crane Getty image

    New Astros owner Jim Crane unveiled some fan-friendly initiatives earlier today, including lower ticket prices, partial rebates for season ticket holders, lower concession prices and relaxed policies on outside food and beverage. While those are all well and good, they were overshadowed by some interesting comments about the team’s future as they prepare for a…

  5. UPDATE: Red Sox agree to one-year, $3 million contract with Cody Ross

    Jan 23, 2012, 8:53 PM EST

    Cody Ross

    9:14 PM: According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, Ross will make a $3 million base salary with the chance to earn more in bonuses based on plate appearances. 8:53 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox and Cody Ross have agreed to a contract. No word on the terms yet, but Michael…

  6. Omar Vizquel agrees to minor-league deal with Blue Jays

    Jan 23, 2012, 8:47 PM EST

    vizquel-110915.standard[1]

    UPDATE: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick originally reported that Vizquel was getting a one-year deal, but it’s actually a minor-league deal with a spring training invite. He’s expected to battle Mike McCoy and Luis Valbuena for a utility infield job. 8:00 PM: While we haven’t heard much about Omar Vizquel this winter, we’re happy to pass along word…

  7. Blue Jays and Brandon Morrow close to three-year extension

    Jan 23, 2012, 7:45 PM EST

    brandon-morrow-blue-jays

    According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, the Blue Jays and right-hander Brandon Morrow are nearing a three-year, $20 million contract extension. The proposed deal includes a $10 million option for 2015 or a $1 million buyout. An official announcement could come as soon as tomorrow. Morrow requested $4.2 million and was offered $3.9 million from the…

  8. White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf says Ozzie Guillen didn’t quit on team

    Jan 23, 2012, 7:05 PM EST

    Ozzie Guillen Getty

    Ozzie Guillen threatened retaliation over the weekend for some recent comments by right-hander Jake Peavy which implied that he quit on the White Sox last September by stepping down as manager with two games remaining in the season. Guillen hasn’t said anything on the matter since and it appears White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is doing…

  9. UPDATE: Angels, Orioles, Phillies and Blue Jays pursuing Francisco Cordero

    Jan 23, 2012, 6:40 PM EST

    Francisco Cordero

    UPDATE: According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, the Angels, Orioles, Phillies and Blue Jays are pursuing Cordero. Those are likely our four finalists. 6:40 PM ET: MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that free agent Francisco Cordero is down to four teams and expects to make a decision by the end of the week.…

  10. The case of the Texas Rangers and the incredibly shrinking strikeout rates

    Jan 23, 2012, 5:48 PM EST

    Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli

    One of things that really stood out when I was doing projections over the last month was how the 2011 Rangers had a bunch of guys that didn’t strike out anywhere near as much as usual. In fact, seven of their nine veterans with at least 400 plate appearances last season set new career-lows when…

  11. No more lone dissenter, as all 30 owners approve Bud Selig’s new contract extension

    Jan 23, 2012, 4:43 PM EST

    Bud Selig

    MLB announced that the 30 owners unanimously approved Bud Selig’s new two-year contract extension, which wouldn’t be particularly noteworthy except for reports last week saying the vote had 29 yays and one nay. That one dissenting vote was Padres owner John Moores, according to the Associated Press: Owners deferred a vote on the proposed transfer…

  12. Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda swap is finally official

    Jan 23, 2012, 4:06 PM EST

    pineda and montero getty wide

    UPDATE: Montero passed his physical, so it’s now a done deal. ========== The multi-player deal between the Yankees and Mariners headlined by Jesus Montero and Michael Pineda is moving closer to completion. Montero was delayed from taking a physical due to weather, plane and visa problems in his native Venezuela, but Larry Stone of the…

  13. Willie Harris agrees to minor-league deal with Reds

    Jan 23, 2012, 2:52 PM EST

    New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals

    Veteran role player Willie Harris has signed with the Reds, according to John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Harris played last season with the Mets, hitting .246 with two homers and a .668 OPS in 283 plate appearances, and reportedly drew interest from the Nationals earlier this offseason. Harris is a career .240 hitter with…

  14. Roy Oswalt turned down the “very interested” Tigers

    Jan 23, 2012, 1:13 PM EST

    oswalt glove getty

    Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com–who was a longtime beat writer in Detroit–reports that the Tigers “were very interested” in Roy Oswalt, but “he didn’t want to go to Detroit.” There’s been plenty of speculation that the Red Sox dumped Marco Scutaro and his $6 million salary on the Rockies in order to clear the payroll space…

  15. Two examples of Jorge Posada being underrated

    Jan 23, 2012, 12:44 PM EST

    posada wide getty

    Amid news that Jorge Posada is planning to retire I’ve written a couple times recently that he’s underrated, in part because catchers in general tend to be undervalued and in part because Posada specifically has been in the shadow of various other Yankees stars. Some readers scoffed at the notion of Posada being underrated, but…

  16. Mike Piazza wants a Mets hat on his Hall of Fame plaque, but what about the Dodgers?

    Jan 23, 2012, 11:51 AM EST

    Mike Piazza

    Mike Piazza will make his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot next year and the 12-time All-Star catcher wants to wear a Mets hat on his plaque. Piazza was interviewed yesterday while at Madison Square Garden in New York for the Knicks-Nuggets game and replied “it’s gotta be the Mets, no question” when…

  17. Agent says David Eckstein is not officially retired

    Jan 23, 2012, 11:19 AM EST

    eckstein world series getty

    Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported yesterday that David Eckstein “has decided to retire, even though there were teams willing to bring him into camp.” That quickly made the rounds, with several other prominent reporters congratulating him on retirement, but Eckstein’s agent says the 37-year-old infielder hasn’t actually retired. Not yet, at least. “If…

  18. Why did the Red Sox dump Marco Scutaro and his salary?

    Jan 23, 2012, 10:47 AM EST

    scutaro getty

    I’m among the people confused by Boston’s move to dump Marco Scutaro and his $6 million salary on the Rockies for a marginal minor leaguer in Clayton Mortensen, in part because Scutaro was hardly overpaid and in part because the Red Sox’s in-house options to replace him at shortstop are so underwhelming. It still doesn’t…

  19. Reds payroll likely to be down slightly from last season

    Jan 23, 2012, 10:15 AM EST

    Walt Jocketty

    After signing Ryan Ludwick last week the Reds more or less have their roster set, with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculating that the one last move they might make is adding a veteran utility man like Ryan Theriot. Fay crunched the numbers to find that Cincinnati’s current payroll will be around $76 million…

  20. “No deal in place” between Nationals and Prince Fielder

    Jan 23, 2012, 9:34 AM EST

    Prince Fielder

    Late last night there was an unsubstantiated rumor going around Twitter that Prince Fielder had agreed to a deal with the Nationals, but both Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Jim Bowden of ESPN.com have shot that down. According to Bowden the two sides “continue to work on a deal” but there’s no…

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