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  1. Jason Bay is back to full speed

    Dec 14, 2010, 3:00 PM EDT

    Jason Bay wide

    It’s not been the best day for Mets fans, what with the Phillies getting Cliff Lee, the Yankees fans making themselves feel better by saying “well, hell, at least we ain’t Mets fans,” and the Kansas City media realizing that, hey, Jeff Francoeur is a winner after all (who knew?!) But there is some good…

  2. Jeff Francoeur already has Kansas City media under his spell

    Dec 14, 2010, 2:53 PM EDT

    jeff francoeur royals presser

    It’s been less than a week since Jeff Francoeur signed a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Royals, but he predictably already has local media members in Kansas City writing the same type of overly glowing prose and outright fluff about him that became commonplace in Atlanta and New York. Yesterday the Royals held a…

  3. The Athletics are on the verge of signing Hideki Matsui

    Dec 14, 2010, 2:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers

    UPDATE: Susan Slusser reports that Matsui is going to make just less than $5 million for next season (Update: Olney says it’s $4.25 million). But hey, the A’s are going to pony up for his translator and his PR person. Which, given the horde of Japanese media that follows Matsui around, is definitely a full-time…

  4. Pirates sign first baseman Lyle Overbay to one-year contract

    Dec 14, 2010, 1:47 PM EDT

    lyle-overbay-blue-jays

    Continuing their offseason plan of stockpiling mediocre veterans, the Pirates have agreed to terms with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5 million contract. Overbay spent the past five seasons in Toronto, but the Blue Jays made no attempt to re-sign the 33-year-old after he hit just .243 with a .329 on-base percentage and…

  5. Brian Cashman: “Plan B is patience”

    Dec 14, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    Brian Cashman

    Brian Cashman just spoke to the media. Surprisingly, the signing of Russell Martin wasn’t the main topic of conversation. That kid from Arkansas who can’t hack the Big Apple was.  No, not Burnett. The other one. Cashman’s remarks included a lot of expected spin.  Spin designed, it would seem, to disabuse other teams out there…

  6. Owner says Rangers turned down Cliff Lee’s offer to re-sign for seven guaranteed years

    Dec 14, 2010, 1:10 PM EDT

    Chuck Greenberg

    Initially last night the Cliff Lee storyline was that he left as much as $50 million on the table because he loved Philadelphia and simply wanted to pitch for the Phillies instead of the Yankees or Rangers. However, now that the various contract details are trickling in it turns out he probably left at most…

  7. Matt Stairs returns to his original team at age 43 … sort of

    Dec 14, 2010, 12:45 PM EDT

    Matt Stairs

    Way back in 1989 the Montreal Expos signed a Canadian-born infielder named Matt Stairs as an undrafted free agent. In the two-plus decades since then Stairs has played more than 1,800 games in the majors for a dozen different teams while becoming baseball’s all-time leader in pinch-hit homers and the Expos have moved to Washington…

  8. Your first “Cliff Lee wasn’t cut out for New York” article of the day

    Dec 14, 2010, 12:41 PM EDT

    New York skyline

    It’s one thing for Cliff Lee to decide that he’s not cut out for New York. Or for him to think that he’s simply better-cut-out for someplace else.  It’s another thing altogether for people who don’t know a thing about the guy to assume they know that. Guys like George Vecsey of the New York…

  9. Silly things I’ve heard this morning

    Dec 14, 2010, 12:07 PM EDT

    File photo of Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee in Arlington

    There’s always a bunch of crazy stuff spewed out there when a big deal goes down.  Heck, I spew half of it. Here’s a list of the silly things I’ve heard in the 12 hours since the Cliff Lee deal was announced, both on Twitter and in comments to our various Cliff Lee posts: “Cliff…

  10. Carl Pavano is suddenly the top starting pitcher on the market

    Dec 14, 2010, 11:48 AM EDT

    carl-pavano-mustache-pitching

    By waiting until the Cliff Lee domino fell Carl Pavano has put himself in position to be the most sought-after starting pitcher on the free agent market, which is both very smart on his agent’s part and remarkable given how the veteran right-hander was viewed just a couple years ago. Pavano was a huge bust…

  11. Yankees sign catcher Russell Martin to one-year contract

    Dec 14, 2010, 11:11 AM EDT

    Russell Martin mask

    Moving on quickly after Cliff Lee turned them down, the Yankees “have agreed to terms on a contract with Russell Martin,” according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. It’s believed to be a one-year deal, although the Yankees would also have Martin under team control in 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player. Because of his fractured hip…

  12. Not so fast on that “best rotation of all time” business

    Dec 14, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

    Braves rotation

    Last night, in an admitted fit of hyperbole and sleep-deprivation, I wrote that the 2011 Phillies may be better than those Braves rotations of the 1990s.  I still think such a thing is possible inasmuch as it would not take a career year from each and every one of them to match what the 1997…

  13. Twins still negotiating contract details with Tsuyoshi Nishioka

    Dec 14, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

    nishioka big

    When the Twins traded starting shortstop J.J. Hardy to the Orioles last week it signaled that they were extremely confident about being able to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka before the December 26 deadline. No deal is in place yet, but LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the two sides are close…

  14. Anyone wanna see a Mets reporter in a Speedo?

    Dec 14, 2010, 10:02 AM EDT

    Phelps speedo

    Note: you may not want to go to Port St. Lucie in February and March. Why? Because Andy Martino, who covers the Mets for the New York Daily News, and who used to cover the Phillies, has a promise to keep.  From a report he made from the Winter Meetings last week: Here’s some of…

  15. Cliff Lee did not leave a ton of money on the table

    Dec 14, 2010, 9:44 AM EDT

    stack of money

    UPDATE:  I somehow missed a Jerry Crasnick tweet on this that said that the Phillies offer had either a $27.5 million vesting option for 2016 or a $12.5 million buyout.  If so, that makes the Phillies deal that much better. In fact, it probably makes it better than the Yankees’ deal in absolute terms as…

  16. The winners and losers of the Cliff Lee deal

    Dec 14, 2010, 9:18 AM EDT

    Aces

    The easy answer is that the Phillies and their fans are the biggest winners here. That goes without saying and explanation, I hope. But let’s look at the others in this epic story to see who comes out ahead and who comes out behind by Cliff Lee joining the Phillies: WINNERS Ruben Amaro: I said…

  17. UPDATE: Blanton to the Red Sox may not be happening

    Dec 14, 2010, 9:09 AM EDT

    blanton

    UPDATE: Now ESPN Boston and the Boston Globe are hearing that a Joe Blanton deal is not close and may not, in fact, happen. For the next 24 hours, I think baseball is going to be like the people of Los Angeles in the movie “1941.”  Panicking. Seeing things behind every corner. Americans fighting Americans.…

  18. Oh look. The Mystery Team got its man

    Dec 14, 2010, 7:43 AM EDT

    mystery man

    Yesterday Jon Heyman said there was a “Mystery Team” in on Cliff Lee. Many mocked, but we mocked harder than anyone. Indeed, if you do a Google search for “Heyman Cliff Lee Mystery Team,” HardballTalk posts take the top three spots. And you know what happened next. There was a Mystery Team. And it actually signed the…

  19. With Cliff Lee gone, what’s next for the Rangers?

    Dec 14, 2010, 1:42 AM EDT

    DANIELS

    First, a little perspective about what the Rangers actually offered Cliff Lee. Though they wouldn’t guarantee a seventh year, they were reportedly willing to offer $23 million per season over six years with a vesting option for a seventh year that would have brought the value of the entire deal to $161 million. It wasn’t…

  20. Let’s not pencil the Phillies into the World Series just yet

    Dec 14, 2010, 1:34 AM EDT

    World Series Phillies Yankees Baseball

    There’s no doubt that the Phillies’ rotation has a chance to be historically great, with two likely Cy Young candidates and two other starters that could rank among the NL’s 10 best, but this is still a team with issues. – First, it’s no lock that Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels will live up to…

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