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  1. Orioles “renew talks with Derrek Lee” while waiting for Adam LaRoche to make a decision

    Dec 21, 2010, 5:40 PM EDT

    Derrek Lee braves

    Getting tired of waiting for Adam LaRoche to accept or decline their reported three-year, $21 million offer has caused the Orioles to “renew talks with Derrek Lee,” according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Zrebiec reports that a deal with LaRoche was believed to be imminent at one point, but now the two sides…

  2. Theo: Papelbon is the closer

    Dec 21, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

    papelbon-100801

    Ian Browne tweets that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said today that despite Jonathan Papelbon’s shakiness last year, despite the signing of Bobby Jenks and despite the fact that Daniel Bard is pretty tough stuff himself, he has assured Papelbon that he is still the team’s closer. And that assurance will matter until the…

  3. What kind of reception would the first active gay baseball player receive?

    Dec 21, 2010, 4:28 PM EDT

    John Amaechi

    I don’t think it would be quite what most of us expect. And I think that what he’d face would be even more daunting than dealing with simple bigotry.

  4. Mariners trade Rob Johnson to Padres for PTBNL or cash

    Dec 21, 2010, 4:16 PM EDT

    rob-johnson-mariners

    Designated for assignment by the Mariners last week, Rob Johnson has been traded to the Padres for a player to be named later or cash. Presumably something like $1.75. Johnson hit .200 with a .282 on-base percentage and .302 slugging percentage in 534 plate appearances for the Mariners, which adds up to a .584 OPS…

  5. Twins finished runner-up in bidding for Hisashi Iwakuma

    Dec 21, 2010, 3:42 PM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma pitching

    Minnesota won the exclusive negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka with a $5.3 million bid and eventually signed the Japanese infielder to a three-year, $9.25 million contract, and this afternoon general manager Bill Smith revealed that the Twins also finished runner-up in the bidding for Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. In an interview with Patrick Reusse and…

  6. UPDATE: The Angels pull their offer to Adrian Beltre, but leave the door open.

    Dec 21, 2010, 3:41 PM EDT

    Adrian Beltre

    UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have pulled their offer to Adrian Beltre off the table.  They haven’t, however, closed the door completely on him, contrary to those earlier reports discussed below. It sounds to me that they simply don’t want to be used by Scott Boras and have their offer shopped…

  7. Pete Abraham’s Hall of Fame ballot

    Dec 21, 2010, 3:06 PM EDT

    Tim Raines

    Like I said yesterday, I’m not going to go over every voter’s Hall of Fame ballot.  But we did touch on Pete Abraham’s Hall of Fame methodology last week, so now that he has released his ballot, it’s worth a look. Pete has Roberto Almomar, Bert Blyleven, Barry Larkin, Alan Trammell and Tim Raines.  Damn…

  8. You can follow Hardball Talk and the HBT writers on Twitter

    Dec 21, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

    twitter follow me

    Hardball Talk has its own Twitter feed, which tweets links to every post throughout the day: @HardballTalk You can also follow the individual Hardball Talk writers on Twitter for links, short-form analysis, heavy doses of snark, and all kinds of random stuff you may or may not care about: Craig Calcaterra – @CraigCalcaterra Aaron Gleeman…

  9. Phillies and Red Sox increased their World Series odds at the Yankees’ expense

    Dec 21, 2010, 1:21 PM EDT

    gambling poster

    At the beginning of the offseason I posted Bodog.com’s gambling odds on each team winning the World Series in 2011, so now that we’re about halfway through the offseason and most of the major free agents have signed I thought it would be interesting to re-examine the same odds for all 30 teams. First, here…

  10. Lenny Dykstra speaks

    Dec 21, 2010, 1:04 PM EDT

    Lenny Dykstra

    Len Dykstra was on WIP in Philly with Howard Eskin yesterday. It was the first time that I can recall that he’s spoken at length about his financial implosion, highly-publicized bankruptcy and the like. So, Lenny, what went wrong? “It is very simple and it is called, predatory lending, meaning, look, I don’t want to…

  11. Corey Patterson among Blue Jays’ minor league signings

    Dec 21, 2010, 12:19 PM EDT

    corey-patterson-orioles

    Toronto announced a half-dozen minor league signings today, including former top prospect Corey Patterson. Patterson is among the biggest prospect busts of the past decade, as a complete lack of plate discipline kept the former No. 3 overall pick and two-time Baseball America top-three prospect from becoming anything resembling a star. On the other hand,…

  12. UPDATE: Brandon Webb won’t choose a team by today

    Dec 21, 2010, 11:58 AM EDT

    Brandon Webb dugout

    UPDATE: Jon Paul Morosi says that Webb is expected to decide on a team by this evening. Correction: Morosi said Webb isn’t expected to pick a team today.  I win the award for reading comprehension fail. I don’t think that changes anything in the analysis, however: the Rangers and Cubs are the front runners, but the Nats…

  13. Indians sign Travis Buck to minor league contract

    Dec 21, 2010, 11:46 AM EDT

    travis-buck-as

    When the A’s opted against calling up Travis Buck from Triple-A in September the writing was on the wall for his departure from Oakland, and sure enough the former first-round pick was non-tendered a few weeks ago. Buck made it to the majors less than two years after the A’s picked him in the first…

  14. Getting to know Freddie Freeman

    Dec 21, 2010, 11:32 AM EDT

    Freddie Freeman

    I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Orris at the Winter Meetings. Two takeaways from meeting Kevin: (1) he’s impossibly, ridiculously, painfully young; and (2) he’s really, really damn bright.  If any of us had it as together as he does at his age we’d all be running teams right now. Anyway, today Kevin has…

  15. Great Moments in Self-Promotion

    Dec 21, 2010, 11:06 AM EDT

    Craig Closeup BW

    Our friend Eno Sarris conducted an email interview of little old me over the past couple of days and the results of it are up over at FanGraphs.  Well, NotGraphs, which is where people like me who are afraid of math go for levity and more right-brained thinking. I talk a bit about my background,…

  16. White Sox pitching coach optimistic about Jake Peavy

    Dec 21, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT

    Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians

    Last month White Sox general manager Ken Williams revealed that he expects Jake Peavy to begin the season on the disabled list following shoulder surgery, but yesterday pitching coach Don Cooper shared a far more optimistic view of Peavy’s status with Scott Merkin of MLB.com. Cooper, who along with trainer Herm Schneider watched Peavy throw…

  17. Buster Olney tells Mets fans not to worry about the Phillies

    Dec 21, 2010, 10:32 AM EDT

    World Series Phillies Yankees Baseball

    From this morning’s Buster Olney column: I’ve been trying to convince some friends who are Mets fans that the Cliff Lee signing is good for New York, in the big picture. Here’s the logic: The Mets are probably not going to be very good in 2011, and maybe even 2012. So, by 2013, when the Mets…

  18. Pirates sign Josh Fields to minor league contract

    Dec 21, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

    josh-fields-royals

    Last offseason the Royals acquired Josh Fields from the White Sox along with Chris Getz in exchange for Mark Teahen, but after one injury wrecked season in Kansas City the former top prospect and 2004 first-round pick was non-tendered a few weeks ago. Fields has latched on with the Pirates, agreeing to a minor-league contract…

  19. Let’s wait on giving a nickname to the Phillies’ rotation

    Dec 21, 2010, 9:45 AM EDT

    Phillies' Hamels, Halladay and Howard watch as the Giants celebrate their victory in Game 4 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in San Francisco

    We all know that giving yourself a nickname is simply inexcusable. Someone has to apply it to you, T-bone, you can’t just pick it yourself. Similarly, you have to earn a nickname. You can’t just start off with one.  And this applies to collective names as well as individual ones. I’m looking at you Stan Hochman…

  20. AP Writer: Cliff Lee should be ashamed that his salary isn’t going to starving children in Africa

    Dec 21, 2010, 9:12 AM EDT

    Cliff Lee phillies throwing

    I’m with the Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg to the extent he’s critical of those who are lauding Cliff Lee for making some sort of financial sacrifice to go to the Phillies. Sure, there’s a bit less guaranteed money, but we’re not in sainthood territory here. Dahlberg completely loses me, however, when he goes off on…

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