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  1. Maybe the zaniest Hall of Fame ballot yet

    Dec 28, 2011, 6:20 PM EST

    Jeff Bagwell

    Here are MLB.com’s Barry Bloom’s nine picks for Cooperstown: I voted for Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Lee Smith and Alan Trammell. Notice any conspicuous absences? It’s quite frankly insane that someone could pick nine players off this year’s ballot, including two tainted by steroids, yet leave…

  2. Red Sox acquire Andrew Bailey and Ryan Sweeney from A’s for Josh Reddick, prospects

    Dec 28, 2011, 5:07 PM EST

    Andrew Bailey

    Oakland continues to part with big-league pitching in an effort to construct a team ready to contend if/when a new ballpark is built, with Buster Olney of ESPN.com reporting that the A’s have traded closer Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Sweeney to the Red Sox for outfielder Josh Reddick, first base prospect Miles Head, and…

  3. The Giants and Tim Lincecum are far apart in talks for a long term deal

    Dec 28, 2011, 4:45 PM EST

    Lincecum cap

    Last month we learned that the Giants and Tim Lincecum are trying to work out a long term deal. Jon Heyman reports today, however, that there is a “sizable gap” between the sides. The gap, Heyman says, is about years as much as money. The team had previously offered a four-year deal, and have reportedly…

  4. Yankees nearing deadline for Hiroyuki Nakajima negotiations

    Dec 28, 2011, 3:43 PM EST

    nakajima getty

    In bidding $2 million for exclusive negotiating rights to Hiroyuki Nakajima the Yankees were given a 30-day window in which to work out a contract with the Japanese infielder. The deadline is January 6, so as Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes: “One way or the other, Nakajima will be resolved next week.” New York doesn’t…

  5. “There is a position called the designated hitter. It’s in the rules and everything”

    Dec 28, 2011, 3:03 PM EST

    Edgar Martinez

    Grant Brisbee of SBN goes after the “Edgar Martinez is not a Hall of Famer” crowd by reminding people that, yo, the DH has been part of the game for 38 years now, so they have to be Hall of Fame eligible.  Brisbee’s hypotheticals which illuminate the silliness of the notion that DHs should not…

  6. UPDATE: Alex Rodriguez went to Germany for some experimental treatment on his knee AND his shoulder

    Dec 28, 2011, 2:20 PM EST

    alex rodriguez getty

    UPDATE: A few minutes ago Brian Cashman said that it wasn’t just A-Rod’s knee that got the German engineering treatment. It was his left shoulder too.  Here’s a full report on it all. So, to sum up: the guy who is still owed $143 million over six years to play third base for the Yankees…

  7. Lots of Hall of Fame voters: “Voting for the Hall of Fame is so hard and dreadful!”

    Dec 28, 2011, 1:11 PM EST

    cooperstown

    Just about every Hall of Fame column you read these days has some variation of the following:  “I used to love voting for the Hall of Fame, now I hate it and find it difficult and oh, my stars and garters, what am I ever to do with this Herculean task?!” Criminy, put your big…

  8. ‘Absolutely no truth’ to reported Rockies interest in Cody Ross

    Dec 28, 2011, 12:56 PM EST

    Cody Ross forearm

    Earlier this week Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that the Rockies were “in contract talks” with free agent Cody Ross, which seemed odd because Colorado already has so much outfield depth that Seth Smith is on the trading block. Olney is one of the best national reporters in the business, but Patrick Saunders of the…

  9. The Marlins have installed the fish tanks in the new ballpark

    Dec 28, 2011, 11:45 AM EST

    Fish Tank

    It was in June of 2010 that we first heard that the Marlins were going to put fish tank behind home plate of the new ballpark.  At the time, PETA got all mad, complaining in a letter to Marlins’ owner Jeff Loria about how “the loud crowds, bright lights, and reverberations of a baseball stadium would…

  10. Yankees sign former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima

    Dec 28, 2011, 11:17 AM EST

    Hideki Okajima

    Hideki Okajima spent nearly all of last season in the minors despite being paid $1.75 million by the Red Sox and now the veteran reliever will try to make it back to the majors with the Yankees. David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Okajima has agreed to a minor-league contract with the…

  11. There was a small fire at Wrigley Field

    Dec 28, 2011, 10:45 AM EST

    Wrigley Field

    The Chicago Tribune reports that there was a small fire at Wrigley Field this morning. It didn’t spread out of a single office. The fire department was called and had already gone in the space of an hour. Zambrano is in Venezuela right now. Pitched last night, in fact. But I’m guessing he had something…

  12. A’s “have strong interest” in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler

    Dec 28, 2011, 10:15 AM EST

    cuba flag

    Oakland has been parting with big-league talent all offseason, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the A’s “have strong interest” in 19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. According to Slusser the A’s also like fellow Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, but because he’s 26 years old and out of their price range they’ve…

  13. “Why doesn’t anyone stump for Aaron to be booted out of Cooperstown?”

    Dec 28, 2011, 8:52 AM EST

    Hank Aaron AP

    Ken Davidoff, following up on his Hall of Fame ballot column from yesterday, brings the noise about why PED stuff shouldn’t matter when it comes to this sort of thing.  hitting the following bases: Hank Aaron did greenies, so why aren’t people on his case about that?; The fact that non-prescribed steroids are illegal should…

  14. Billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen is going to bid on the Dodgers

    Dec 28, 2011, 6:39 AM EST

    Hedge fund manager Cohen, founder and chairman of SAC Capital Advisors, responds to a question during an interview at the SALT Conference in Las Vegas

    If I had $8 billion to my name, you can pretty much assume that I’d be buying a baseball team. Don’t care which one, even. I’d buy one and hire all of my baseball man-crushes to run it and/or play for it and I’d sit in the owner’s box with the kind of women who…

  15. Former top prospect Lastings Milledge signs with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows

    Dec 27, 2011, 10:00 PM EST

    Lastings Milledge Getty

    According to a Sanspo report via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League have announced the signing of outfielder Lastings Milledge. Former Athletics and Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker actually spoiled the news earlier this month, but the signing is now official. Milledge will earn around $570,000 next season while…

  16. UPDATE: OK, so maybe Prince Fielder won’t consider a three-year deal

    Dec 27, 2011, 8:49 PM EST

    fielder getty

    UPDATE: OK, maybe not. Scott Boras told Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com that Prince Fielder will not consider a three-year deal: “Not only is that inaccurate and delusional, but it seems that some people have gotten into their New Year’s Eve stash just a little bit early this year,” Boras told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday. “It appears…

  17. So, Jeromy Burnitz used to pee in shampoo bottles

    Dec 27, 2011, 4:20 PM EST

    Shampoo

    Pete Abraham has his Hall of Fame column up.  It’s good, as usual. This year he reconsidered his no-vote for Jeff Bagwell from last year, decided that not voting for him based on PED suspicion is “baseball McCarthyism” and cast his ballot for Bagwell.  You may or may not agree with that (I do), but…

  18. “Raines is probably the best base stealer in the history of Major League Baseball”

    Dec 27, 2011, 2:38 PM EST

    Tim Raines

    I have been slightly worried about Joe Posnanski lately. He set off last summer to write what was supposed to be a feel-good book about a feel-good guy — Joe Paterno — and then everything exploded on him while he was doing interviews and research in State College, Pennsylvania. Sometimes I get images of him…

  19. GM doubts Joel Zumaya is healthy enough to pass physical

    Dec 27, 2011, 12:30 PM EST

    Joel Zumaya injury

    Joel Zumaya threw for a big group of teams earlier this month and reportedly topped out in the mid-90s with his fastball, leading to lots of optimism about the oft-injured reliever’s latest comeback. However, an unnamed American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “our doctors don’t think he would pass…

  20. Is it time to trade Kevin Youkilis?

    Dec 27, 2011, 11:56 AM EST

    Boston Red Sox v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

    That’s not my question, it’s Kirk Minihane‘s question over at WEEI.  His point: the Sox need pitching, so why not trade Kevin Youkilis for some of it? Your mileage may vary on that — it’s chatter-worthy for fans of the Sox, but sort of meaningless because it’s not happening — but I’m way more interested in…

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