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  1. The Yu Darvish bidding ends at 5PM

    Dec 14, 2011, 4:30 PM EDT

    darvish getty wide

    You still have about a half hour to get your bids in for Yu Darvish. Bidding for the right to negotiate with the best thing to come out of Japan since … man, I dunno, lots of cool things come from Japan … ends at 5PM Eastern today. As of now it’s thought that the…

  2. Bill Smith returning to Twins a month after being fired as GM

    Dec 14, 2011, 4:16 PM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins

    Minnesota fired Bill Smith as general manager on November 7, replacing him with former GM Terry Ryan, but they talked about wanting to keep him as part of the organization in a different role and apparently Smith is willing to stay. Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that Smith is close to returning in a “special…

  3. Red Sox sign Nick Punto for two years and $3.5 million

    Dec 14, 2011, 3:50 PM EDT

    Mark Kotsay, Nick Punto

    This morning the Red Sox traded infielder Jed Lowrie to the Astros in a deal for reliever Mark Melancon and it didn’t take them long to replace him, with Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reporting that Boston has signed Nick Punto to a two-year, $3.5 million contract. Punto was paid just $750,000 by the Cardinals and…

  4. The Nationals are interested in Mike Cameron

    Dec 14, 2011, 3:27 PM EDT

    Mike Cameron

    When last we heard about Mike Cameron he was being released by the Marlins after having a verbal confrontation with a flight attendant. Based on that — and based on the fact that he hit .203/.285/.359 last year, I figured we had seen the last of him. Guess not: the Nationals are looking at him…

  5. General manager Walt Jocketty calls Reds’ lack of moves “very frustrating”

    Dec 14, 2011, 2:57 PM EDT

    Walt Jocketty

    Reds general manager Walt Jocketty has come up empty on various attempts to make a significant move this offseason and called it “very frustrating.” “It’s all I’ve been working on, trying to improve our pitching,” Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s been an extension of the winter meetings. But we’re still not…

  6. The Orioles and Braves have discussed Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens

    Dec 14, 2011, 2:41 PM EDT

    Jair Jurrjens

    File this under “stuff that would be interesting if the Orioles had anything the Braves wanted,” but Rosenthal and Morosi report that the Orioles and the Braves have had discussions about a trade involving Martin Prado and/or Jair Jurrjens. As a Braves fan I’m not opposed to seeing Jurrjens moved. I worry about his health…

  7. Michael Cuddyer signing with Rockies “could happen today”

    Dec 14, 2011, 1:50 PM EDT

    cuddyer wide getty

    Josh Willingham‘s three-year, $21 million deal with the Twins isn’t finalized yet, but it sounds just about official and that means the man he’s replacing in Minnesota, Michael Cuddyer, could also be on the verge of choosing a new team. Cuddyer has been linked to Colorado all offseason and Troy Renck of the Denver Post…

  8. So, financially speaking, how screwed are the Wilpons?

    Dec 14, 2011, 1:37 PM EDT

    Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

    With news the other day that the Wilpons took another big loan to help keep Mets’ operations afloat, new questions are being raised regarding just how poorly off Fred Wilpon really is. Over at Amazin’ Avenue, Dan Lewis breaks it down in amazing detail.  Detail which you should all read if, for no other reason,…

  9. Joel Zumaya threw for more than 50 scouts today

    Dec 14, 2011, 1:16 PM EDT

    Detroit pitcher Zumaya injures arm after pitching to Twins Young during their MLB baseball game in Minneapolis

    Joel Zumaya took a big step in his latest comeback today, throwing for scouts in Houston to show he’s recovered from a fractured elbow that’s kept him out since mid-2010. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that “more than 50 scouts” were in attendance, passing along word that Zumaya threw 93-96 miles per hour. One of…

  10. Gettin’ the band back together: the Cubs have some interest in Varitek, Wakefield

    Dec 14, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox

    Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Cubs have some interest in Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. Nothing is imminent, and this sounds a lot more like someone sayin’ “ya know, we could do this …” than anything else. Still, it would be fun. Sort of like that time the Saints hired Bum Phillips…

  11. 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…

  12. 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…

  13. 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…

  14. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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.…

  18. 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…

  19. 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…

  20. 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…

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