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  1. Albert Pujols sets spring training deadline for contract talks

    Jan 15, 2011, 3:40 PM EDT

    Pujols swing

    That’s the sobering news from the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up event this afternoon. According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Albert Pujols and his agent Don Lozano will not negotiate a contract extension once spring training begins. It’s not clear if this has been the deadline all…

  2. Phillies, Ben Francisco avoid arbitation with one-year deal

    Jan 15, 2011, 3:02 PM EDT

    ben Francisco swinging

    The Phillies and outfielder Ben Francisco avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $1.175 million contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Francisco, who was acquired from the Indians along with Cliff Lee in July of 2009, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 29-year-old outfielder earned $470,000 last season while…

  3. Olney: Brian Cashman has “full confidence” of Steinbrenners

    Jan 15, 2011, 2:44 PM EDT

    Brian Cashman, Hank Steinbrenner

    If you ever had any doubt that the Yankees own New York, just look at the back page of the New York Daily News today. Pretty impressive feat — no, I didn’t use that word because of Rex Ryan — especially on a weekend when the Jets are playing the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.…

  4. Cardinals and Kyle McClellan avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 15, 2011, 2:15 PM EDT

    Kyle McLellan throwing

    Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak just announced at the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up Event that the team avoided arbitration with right-hander Kyle McClellan by agreeing on a one-year contract. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted earlier this morning that a deal was close. McClellan, 26, was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.…

  5. Report: Jim Thome turned down at least $4 million from Rangers to re-sign with Twins

    Jan 15, 2011, 1:20 PM EDT

    Jim Thome ap

    As Aaron wrote yesterday, Jim Thome will make $3 million guaranteed with the chance for an additional $3 million in performance-based incentives as part of his new contract with the Twins, but according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the veteran slugger was offered more than $4 million by the Rangers. So yes, Thome did leave…

  6. Cubs to honor Ron Santo with statue at Wrigley Field

    Jan 15, 2011, 12:36 PM EDT

    Ron Santo Wrigley

    The Cubs just kicked off day two of their annual Cubs Convention by announcing plans to unveil a statue in the likeness of Ron Santo, who passed away in December at the age of 70. The statue will be unveiled as part of “Ron Santo Day” on August 10. The official release from the team…

  7. Report: Athletics pushing to sign free agent reliever Brian Fuentes

    Jan 15, 2011, 12:14 PM EDT

    brian-fuentes-twins

    The Athletics just added Grant Balfour to help strengthen their bullpen yesterday, but it appears that they aren’t done yet. Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the club is also pushing to sign Brian Fuentes. Fuentes, 35, posted a 2.81 ERA and 47/20 K/BB ratio over 48 innings…

  8. Jed Lowrie could push Marco Scutaro for playing time at shortstop

    Jan 15, 2011, 11:20 AM EDT

    Jed Lowrie swinging

    During an appearance at the “Hot Stove Cool Music” panel discussion at Fenway Park last night, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein expressed confidence in Marco Scutaro as the starting shortstop, but suggested that Jed Lowrie could push him for playing time this season (via Brian McPherson of the Providence Journal). “We have two really…

  9. UPDATE: Johan Santana to throw before spring training

    Jan 15, 2011, 10:26 AM EDT

    Johan Santana

    UPDATE: Seems the Mets worded their initial announcement a little awkwardly. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Santana has been cleared to throw before spring training, not now. Friday, 5:35 PM: You’ll recall that Johan Santana underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder in September. At the time…

  10. Josh Hamilton and Joey Votto among 119 players who filed for salary arbitration

    Jan 15, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

    stack of money

    American League MVP Josh Hamilton and National League MVP Joey Votto were among the 119 players who filed for salary arbitration yesterday. Hamilton earned $3.25 million last season and is in his second year of eligibility, while Votto is arbitration-eligible for the first time. Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer spoke with a few agents…

  11. Report: Fox advances Frank McCourt money to help cover Dodgers’ operating expenses

    Jan 15, 2011, 8:58 AM EDT

    Frank McCourt

    According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who has been all over this story, Fox has advanced Dodgers owner Frank McCourt money in order to help cover the team’s operating expenses. Fox owes the Dodgers $35 million for television rights this year, $37 million next year and $39 million in 2013, according to…

  12. The Nationals aren’t in on Chris Young

    Jan 14, 2011, 9:31 PM EDT

    Chris Young throwing

    Buster Olney of ESPN.com wrote earlier this week that the Nationals “may be in play” for free agent right-hander Chris Young, but a baseball source told Bill Ladson of MLB.com today that the report was untrue. This would seem to leave the Mets as the most logical destination, as the two sides have been connected…

  13. Heyman: Yankees would consider trading Joba Chamberlain for a starter

    Jan 14, 2011, 8:20 PM EDT

    Joba chamberlain throwing

    After news of the Rafael Soriano signing broke last night, many had the logical take that the Yankees should consider moving Joba Chamberlain back into the starting rotation. Of course, that probably won’t happen, which is all the more frustrating after reading the following information. According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Yankees would consider…

  14. Cubs and Geovany Soto avoid arbitration with one-year deal

    Jan 14, 2011, 6:59 PM EDT

    Geovany Soto

    According to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com, the Cubs and Geovany Soto have agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract, avoiding arbitration in the player’s first year of eligibility. He earned $575,000 last season. Soto, who turns 28 later this month, bounced back from a disappointing 2009 campaign to bat .280/.393/.497 with 17 home runs and…

  15. The Giants reality show is actually going to happen

    Jan 14, 2011, 5:04 PM EDT

    Giants' Lincecum holds Commissioner's Trophy after his team defeated Rangers in Game 5 to win Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington

    Major League Baseball just made it official: that reality show on Showtime featuring the Giants is a go: Showtime Networks, Major League Baseball Productions and the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants are teaming up for a new series chronicling the competitive and complex world of professional baseball. The new series will give viewers…

  16. Is the Soriano deal a sign of chaos in the Yankees organization?

    Jan 14, 2011, 4:29 PM EDT

    Brian Cashman

    The Rafael Soriano deal was a shocker. Mostly because until very recently Brian Cashman was telling anyone who would listen that the Yankees were done with their days of giving multi-year deals to non-Mariano Rivera class relievers and that they were not going to give up the draft pick required to get Soriano because doing…

  17. Nationals GM “frustrated” and “disappointed” with failed attempts to improve rotation

    Jan 14, 2011, 4:21 PM EDT

    Mike Rizzo

    This afternoon the Nationals held a press conference to introduce Adam LaRoche to the local media, who naturally asked general manager Mike Rizzo about the team’s various failed attempts to improve the starting rotation this offseason. They failed to sign Cliff Lee and Jorge De La Rosa, have apparently dropped out of the bidding for…

  18. Is 600 home runs “magical?”

    Jan 14, 2011, 3:38 PM EDT

    Jim Thome

    Danny Knobler asks that question in light of Jim Thome’s signing and his inevitable 600th home run: Thome is entirely likeable, by teammates, fans and writers alike. A whole bunch of people will be happy for him when he gets to 600. But will it feel magic? I’m not so sure it will. This just isn’t…

  19. Carl Pavano’s “decision expected Monday or Tuesday”

    Jan 14, 2011, 3:15 PM EDT

    carl-pavano-mustache-pitching

    General manager Bill Smith said this afternoon that re-signing Jim Thome won’t keep the Twins from also bringing back Carl Pavano, telling Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “We’re very optimistic, very hopeful of bringing Carl Pavano back to this ball club.” Christensen reports that Pavano “is taking the weekend to think about the…

  20. The Stamford police are skeptical of Bobby Valentine

    Jan 14, 2011, 2:36 PM EDT

    Bobby Valentine horizontal

    Bobby Valentine’s new job as Stamford, Connecticut’s Public Safety Director is not going over all that well with the people who will be under his supervision: The announcement of Valentine’s new role wasn’t met with universal acclaim, however. Sgt. Joe Kennedy, president of the Stamford police union, expressed his doubts about Valentine to the Advocate.…

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