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  1. Diving into the depths: Chicago Cubs

    Jan 31, 2011, 3:30 PM EDT

    Geovany Soto, Carlos Marmol

    This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training. Rotation 1. Ryan Dempster 2. Matt Garza 3. Carlos Zambrano 4. Randy Wells 5. Carlos Silva 6. Andrew Cashner 7. Todd Wellemeyer 8. Braden Looper 9. Casey Coleman 10. Thomas Diamond 11. Jeff Samardzija 12. Jay Jackson 13.…

  2. Rob Neyer says goodbye to ESPN

    Jan 31, 2011, 3:02 PM EDT

    Rob Neyer

    Rob Neyer has announced that after 15 years — which is about 300 in Internet years — he’s leaving ESPN.  Rob is going to keep writing, of course — we don’t know where, but a little bird tells me that we’ll hear more about that part tomorrow morning — but this is still pretty major…

  3. Ty Cobb’s great-grandson is a college basketball player and his name is Ty Cobb

    Jan 31, 2011, 2:48 PM EDT

    ty cobb

    Bob Pool of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about Ty Cobb’s great-grandson, a 19-year-old college freshman with the same name who’s on the basketball team at Occidental College and turned down the chance to be a two-sport athlete because he’s just not all that into baseball. I’m not going to play baseball…

  4. Frank Viola is going to work for the Mets

    Jan 31, 2011, 2:05 PM EDT

    Frank Viola

    Frank Viola — the best pitcher in the history of Long Island —  was all over the lobby down at the Winter Meetings last month.  I figured it was just because he lives down in Florida and was meeting and greeting, but maybe he was there on the make for a job. He just got…

  5. Orioles re-sign Mark Hendrickson to minor league deal

    Jan 31, 2011, 1:46 PM EDT

    mark-hendrickson-orioles

    After weighing a similar offer from the Rockies left-hander Mark Hendrickson has decided to re-sign with the Orioles on a minor-league contract, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Hendrickson spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, making 12 starts and 93 relief appearances while posting a 4.74 ERA and 116/53 K/BB ratio in…

  6. Shawn Green dropped the asking price on his California home by $7 million

    Jan 31, 2011, 1:14 PM EDT

    shawn green house

    Shawn Green had been trying to sell his home in Shady Canyon, California for $17.5 million, but the former Blue Jays, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Mets outfielder couldn’t find a taker and has now re-listed the property for the low, low price of … $10.9 million. According to Marilyn Kalfus of the Orange Country Register the…

  7. If baseball handled its All-Star Game like hockey does

    Jan 31, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants, Game 5

    I am not a hockey fan — I knew very little about it actually — but I am fascinated with the way they’ve handled their All-Star Game in recent years.  They used to do that North America vs. the World thing.  Now they pick a couple of captains who choose their squads, playground style.  Very…

  8. Hitters complained, so the Twins are getting rid of the center field trees at Target Field

    Jan 31, 2011, 12:19 PM EDT

    target-field-trees

    One of the misconceptions about park factors is that the dimensions of the field determine if a ballpark skews pitcher-friendly or hitter-friendly. In reality the dimensions definitely play a big role, but the run-scoring environment is also greatly impacted by other stuff like wind patterns, humidity, playing surfaces, and hitting backgrounds. Target Field in Minnesota…

  9. Martin Luther King III confirms his interest in the Mets

    Jan 31, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

    Martin Luther King III

    Over the weekend we learned that Martin Luther King III is interested in becoming one of Fred Wilpon’s “strategic partners.”  Last night he released a statement confirming this interest: “I believe in the merit and American value of creating an example, and if I personally, or as part of a collective, can advance the vision…

  10. Cuban defector Jose Ruiz signs with the Rangers after being released by the Rays

    Jan 31, 2011, 11:17 AM EDT

    jose ruiz cuba

    Cuban first basemen Jose Ruiz, who was released by the Rays in November as part of a unique contract stipulation, has signed a new deal with the Rangers. Ruiz’s original agreement with the Rays was a minor-league deal that would become a four-year, $4 million contract if the Rays exercised that option by mid-November. They…

  11. Baseball should ban smokeless tobacco

    Jan 31, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

    Francona tobacco

    After Tony Gwynn — Stephen Strasburg‘s college coach — was diagnosed with parotid cancer, Stephen Strasburg decided to give up smokeless tobacco: “I’m still in the process of quitting,” Strasburg, 22, said. “I’ve made a lot of strides, stopped being so compulsive with it. I’m hoping I’m going to be clean for spring training. It’s going…

  12. The Rangers and Josh Hamilton are making progress

    Jan 31, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

    File photo of Texas Rangers' outfielder Josh Hamilton waiting to hit during workouts in preparation for Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco

    A week ago we mused about whether the Rangers will play the drug addict card in an arbitration with Josh Hamilton.  Most signs, however, are pointing to us never finding out, as the Rangers and him are making progress on a deal.  Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine: “I would characterize our communication as very open…

  13. LaTroy Hawkins expects to be ready for Opening Day after shoulder surgery

    Jan 31, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT

    latroy-hawkins-brewers

    Last offseason LaTroy Hawkins signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Brewers and then went 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings while trying to pitch through shoulder pain. He was eventually shut down and underwent surgery on his labrum and rotator cuff in August. Yesterday the 38-year-old reliever told Tom Haudricourt of…

  14. The Wilpons are no strangers to Ponzi schemes

    Jan 31, 2011, 9:31 AM EDT

    Fred Wilpon

    Alison Cowan of the New York Times reports that the Bernie Madoff affair was not the first time the Wilpons have had to pay back money as a result of getting in early on a Ponzi scheme: But for the owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, it is not the first time they have had their…

  15. Manny Ramirez is in the best shape of his life

    Jan 31, 2011, 9:12 AM EDT

    Manny Ramirez

    This is a bit of a stretch. Neither he nor his agent used those words, and that’s normally what triggers this kind of post.  But this is fun anyway: Marc Topkin, who covers the Rays for the St. Pete Times, waited for Manny Ramirez as he arrived at the Tampa airport last night: He was…

  16. Let them use ‘roids

    Jan 31, 2011, 8:48 AM EDT

    syringe

    One of these sorts of articles comes down the pike every six to eight months or so, and I usually link them: Laws and ethics are not based on what is easy and what is hard to control. They are based on standards of justice and what is ethically right. The reason I believe doping…

  17. The Orioles sign Justin Duchscherer

    Jan 31, 2011, 8:20 AM EDT

    Justin Duchscherer

    Jerry Crasnick reports that the Orioles have signed Justin Duchscherer.  The Baltimore Sun says that the deal is for $700K guaranteed, a base salary of $1.1 million if he makes the roster and as much as $4.5 million if he makes 30 starts. This sounds like a great deal for Baltimore.  If Duchscherer can stay healthy,…

  18. HBT Weekend Wrapup

    Jan 31, 2011, 5:20 AM EDT

    Office at Night

    I spent my weekend with a bad back and a couple of books about artists with some serious psycho-sexual issues. Let’s see how the baseball world spent its weekend.

  19. Hanley Ramirez has ‘hunger of a rookie?’ It’s about time

    Jan 31, 2011, 1:32 AM EDT

    spt-hbt2-hanley-ramirez-110130.standard[1]

    Look out world, Hanley Ramirez is ready to play hard this season. No more fooling around for this kid. No more treating ground balls with that special Roger Dorn flair. No more strutting around like he taught Abner Doubleday the nuances of the game. No more spotting the pitcher a pitch or two in each…

  20. O’s looking to acquire Duchscherer, might have made offer

    Jan 30, 2011, 4:38 PM EDT

    Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

    There are only a couple of free agents remaining on the open market who could have real value in 2011.  Justin Duchscherer is one of them. The 33-year-old right-hander boasts an excellent 3.13 career ERA and 1.14 career WHIP across eight major league seasons.  He has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but his…

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