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  1. Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann are Rays pitchers most likely to be shopped

    Dec 14, 2011, 12:44 PM EDT

    wade davis getty

    Tampa Bay has all kinds of starting pitching depth, leading to speculation that they’ll try to cash some of it in for lineup help at some point. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times examined all the rotation options and concluded that Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann are the most likely starters to be traded…

  2. Rick Santorum likes his fantasy baseball teams to be clean

    Dec 14, 2011, 12:30 PM EDT

    Rick Santorum

    Presidential candidate — hey, don’t look at me like that; he’s still running! — Rick Santorum did a podcast with Politico and the topic of fantasy baseball came up.  Seems Santorum is an avid and, apparently, quite successful fantasy player. Who knew? The fun part: Santorum does not approve of players who use PEDs. Not…

  3. Closer found? Red Sox get Mark Melancon from Astros for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland

    Dec 14, 2011, 11:52 AM EDT

    Mark Melancon

    Boston may still add a veteran closer to replace Jonathan Papelbon, but in the meantime they’ve picked up a potential ninth-inning option in right-hander Mark Melancon, who saved 20 games for the Astros this year. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Red Sox are sending infielder Jed Lowrie and pitching prospect Kyle Weiland to…

  4. Jimmy Rollins and the Phillies are not close to a deal

    Dec 14, 2011, 11:44 AM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v St Louis Cardinals - Game 3

    Last night we learned that [insert ominous music] a Mystery Team was talking to Jimmy Rollins. Maybe they’re making mystery headway, because Scott Miller of CBS says today that the Phillies and Rollins are nowhere close to a deal. The Phillies and Rollins are still talking, but it may be a while.  Unless there’s real…

  5. Alex Gonzalez’s one-year, $4.25 million deal with Brewers has vesting option for 2013

    Dec 14, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

    Alex Gonzalez

    Milwaukee briefly flirted with Jimmy Rollins before settling on Alex Gonzalez as their new shortstop and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that his one-year deal is worth $4.25 million with a $4 million option for 2013 that vests with 525 plate appearances. That makes it easy for the Brewers to cut bait on Gonzalez if…

  6. There will be stiffer penalties for slow play in the new CBA

    Dec 14, 2011, 11:08 AM EDT

    Boston Red Sox Josh Beckett walks to the dugout at the end of the seventh inning, during which the Baltimore Orioles scored two runs, in their MLB American League baseball at Fenway Park in Boston

    Here’s an extended version of that AP story I linked this morning on some of the new details of the collective bargaining agreement. Here’s a fun one, highlighted by Alex Speier of WEEI: The report says that slow-moving hitters and pitchers can be fined up to $10,000 for a sixth pace-of-game violation and beyond. As…

  7. Nationals pursuing Mark DeRosa, Greg Dobbs, and Willie Harris for bench jobs

    Dec 14, 2011, 10:47 AM EDT

    Mark DeRosa

    Washington’s search for bench bats has led them to express interest in Mark DeRosa, Greg Dobbs, and Willie Harris, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Dobbs and Harris are left-handed hitters and strictly role players, while DeRosa is a right-handed hitter who was an everyday player before wrist problems derailed his career three years ago.…

  8. Jason Varitek is still in the Red Sox’ plans?

    Dec 14, 2011, 9:41 AM EDT

    Jason Varitek

    With the Sox signing Kelly Shoppach and still having Jarrod Saltalamacchia, it strains credulity to think that Jason Varitek can still fit someplace on that team. But Nick Cafardo tweets that, according to a major league source, Varitek “may still be in the picture” for the Red Sox. I guess they take pictures on old timers…

  9. It’s “I have no evidence of his PED use, but I’m not voting for Jeff Bagwell” season

    Dec 14, 2011, 8:57 AM EDT

    Jeff Bagwell

    I guess we’re going to do this again. We’re going to say that Jeff Bagwell, by the fame, by the accomplishments and by the numbers, is worthy of the Hall of Fame. But we’re then going to not vote for him because … I’m not sure why. The first of the season is Jeff Jacobs of…

  10. Ballplayers will be banned from getting tattoos of corporate logos

    Dec 14, 2011, 8:30 AM EDT

    Rauch displays tattoos on his neck during practice at the team's MLB American League spring training facility in Dunedin

    There’s a small, light-on-the-details story in the Associated Press about some of the specific changes in the new collective bargaining agreement. Among some stuff about instant replay, a longer All-Star break and the opportunity for players to get private rooms instead of having a roommate during spring training, comes this little bit: There’s also a ban…

  11. Carlos Zambrano is in the best shape of his life

    Dec 14, 2011, 8:00 AM EDT

    zambrano getty wid

    Our friend Nick Collias of MLBTR has been reading the Venezuelan newspapers and he passes along word from Joiner Martinez at Líder en Deportes that Carlos Zambrano is either (a) getting into the best shape of his life; or (b) getting ready to fight Ivan Drago in Moscow on Christmas Day: “I’m preparing like when I…

  12. 11 years after being drafted, Kelly Shoppach belatedly replaces Jason Varitek

    Dec 14, 2011, 4:27 AM EDT

    Jason Varitek

    When the Red Sox made Kelly Shoppach their first pick in the 2001 draft, the thinking was that he might someday take over for Jason Varitek behind the plate in Boston. Of course, then GM Dan Duquette probably didn’t see it happening 11 years and two Red Sox World Series championships later. Nor did he know that…

  13. UPDATE: Twins, Josh Willingham near three-year, $21 million contract

    Dec 13, 2011, 11:15 PM EDT

    willingham getty

    11:15 PM ET: Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that the Twins and Willingham are “very close” to a three-year, $21 million contract. UPDATE III: Hold up. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune are both hearing that a deal between the Twins and Willingham isn’t done. What’s more, Christensen…

  14. The Mariners are suddenly in the mix for Michael Cuddyer

    Dec 13, 2011, 9:57 PM EDT

    Michael Cuddyer

    Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported earlier tonight that at least one unidentified club was in the hunt for free agent Michael Cuddyer. Well, now we know who that might be. Morosi and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com are both reporting that the Mariners are now talking to Cuddyer. We haven’t heard much about Seattle this…

  15. Athletics and Dallas Braden agree on one-year contract

    Dec 13, 2011, 8:45 PM EDT

    Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden throws during their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto

    The Athletics and Dallas Braden avoided arbitration today by agreeing on a one-year contract, the team announced. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle hears that he’ll make a $3.35 million base salary and could earn an additional $400,000 with performance-based incentives. He made the same salary in 2011 and was arbitration-eligible for the second…

  16. Jimmy Rollins’ agent is talking to a mystery team

    Dec 13, 2011, 7:30 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v St Louis Cardinals - Game 3

    The Brewers and Cardinals settled on their shortstops over the past week, but Jimmy Rollins‘ agent is still determined to find some sort of leverage in contract negotiations with the Phillies. With that in mind, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that Rollins’ agent Dan Lozano is having “dialogue” with a second team which he has…

  17. Josh Willingham deal likely to start chain reaction

    Dec 13, 2011, 6:14 PM EDT

    Michael Cuddyer

    The outfield market could start unfolding quickly now with the news that Josh Willingham is about to become a Minnesota Twin. – Michael Cuddyer, who had been the Twins’ preference, appears likely to join the Rockies. Minnesota offered their veteran the three-year deal he desired, but it seems that last season’s experience was bad enough…

  18. GM says Johan Santana “might not be” ready for Opening Day

    Dec 13, 2011, 3:50 PM EDT

    johan santana face getty

    In talking about the Mets’ rotation plans general manager Sandy Alderson categorized Johan Santana as a “question mark” and told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that the former Cy Young winner “might not be” ready for Opening Day. Santana planned to return from shoulder surgery to pitch for the Mets down the stretch, but…

  19. Is race and personality affecting coverage of the Ryan Braun story?

    Dec 13, 2011, 3:36 PM EDT

    braun wide getty

    Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com wants to know why people are inclined to give Ryan Braun the benefit of the doubt at the moment when they weren’t so willing to do so with Barry Bonds: So why, then, is there such an eagerness to find Braun’s seemingly implausible story so believable, or at least defensible by…

  20. Josh Willingham to decide on new team within 48 hours

    Dec 13, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT

    willingham reuters

    Josh Willingham will sign within the next 48 hours, agent Matt Sosnick told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Sosnick indicated that Willingham has narrowed his choices down to three teams, two of which are believed to be the Twins and Indians. Minnesota has had a three-year, $25 million offer on the table to…

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