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  1. The Padres hire Josh Byrnes

    Dec 3, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT

    Josh Byrnes

    Fired Arizona Diamondbacks are the new inefficiency. A couple months after hiring former Dbacks manager A.J. Hinch, the Padres have hired his old boss, Josh Byrnes, to be the senior vice president of baseball operations.  There he’ll answer to Jed Hoyer, with whom Byrnes used to work in Boston. When last we heard from Byrnes…

  2. The Brewers trade Carlos Villanueva to Toronto

    Dec 3, 2010, 2:35 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Brewers v St. Louis Cardinals

    Not a  lot of detail on this one yet, but the Brewers have traded righty reliever Carlos Villanueva to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later. Villanueva pitched in 50 games last year, posting a 4.61 ERA and striking out 67 guys in 52 innings. He allows quite a few base runners,…

  3. Nationals and Cubs “stepping up pursuit of Brandon Webb”

    Dec 3, 2010, 2:16 PM EDT

    Brandon Webb

    According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com the Nationals and Cubs “are stepping up their pursuit of Brandon Webb” and “making a big push” to sign the former Cy Young winner amid interest from “several other clubs.” Washington has been linked to Webb since the moment he became a free agent and Chicago’s interest was first…

  4. The Sox offered Mariano Rivera two years and $30 million

    Dec 3, 2010, 2:04 PM EDT

    rivera in delivery

    I was skeptical about the Red Sox making a serious offer to Mariano Rivera, but Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that it was legit: a two-year deal at $15 million per.  If Mo had accepted it, the Sox would have non-tendered Jonathan Papelbon. I had made a comment this morning asking why the Sox…

  5. Braves get Scott Linebrink from White Sox for Kyle Cofield

    Dec 3, 2010, 1:47 PM EDT

    scott-linebrink-white-sox

    No doubt looking to shed some salary after signing Adam Dunn and re-signing A.J. Pierzynski yesterday, the White Sox have traded veteran reliever Scott Linebrink to the Braves for mid-level pitching prospect Kyle Cofield. Chicago will reportedly send some cash to Atlanta to cover part of the one season and $5.5 million left on Linebrink’s…

  6. Photo of the Day: Brian Cashman rappelled down that building

    Dec 3, 2010, 1:29 PM EDT

    Or, based on the headband, it may have been Brett Michaels. Possibly Andre Agassi.

  7. Hall of Fame or not, Ron Santo ranks among the all-time great third basemen

    Dec 3, 2010, 1:15 PM EDT

    ron santo cubs card

    When someone successful and beloved dies there’s a natural tendency to perhaps overstate their greatness and at first glance it may seem as though people are doing that today in touting Ron Santo’s qualifications for the Hall of Fame after the longtime Cubs third baseman and announcer passed away yesterday. However, in Santo’s case amplifying…

  8. Magglio Ordonez is probably re-signing with the Tigers

    Dec 3, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

    Magglio basepaths

    I took a whole lot of Spanish in high school and college, and got to the point at the end of my freshman year where I was even starting to think in Spanish. Everyone told me that what I needed to do at that point was spend the summer in an immersion program in Mexico…

  9. UPDATE: Angels sign Hisanori Takahashi to two-year deal

    Dec 3, 2010, 12:16 PM EDT

    Hisanori Takahashi throwing

    UPDATE: Done deal. Two years and “between $5 and $6 million.” ========== Let go by the Mets last month when the two sides couldn’t agree to a new contract before a sign-or-cut deadline, left-hander Hisanori Takahashi is “close to agreeing to a multi-year deal with the Angels,” writes David Waldstein of the New York Times.…

  10. Ryan Zimmerman is not happy the Nats lost Dunn

    Dec 3, 2010, 12:01 PM EDT

    Ryan Zimmerman

    Here’s Nats’ third baseman Ryan Zimmerman reflecting on Adam Dunn going to the Chisox: “Knowing that we had one of the three top free agents on our team and we didn’t want to resign him, it’s frustrating for us as players. We’re not in the front office. We don’t make the decisions, and we don’t…

  11. Dodgers re-sign Rod Barajas after dropping Russell Martin

    Dec 3, 2010, 11:49 AM EDT

    Dodgers Brewers Baseball

    Last night the Dodgers non-tendered Russell Martin and then quickly answered questions about their post-Martin catching situation by re-signing Rod Barajas to a one-year deal. Barajas was claimed off waivers from the Mets following Martin’s hip injury and played well down the stretch, hitting .297 with five homers and a .939 OPS in 25 games.…

  12. My annual musing about Scott Boras’ conflicts of interest

    Dec 3, 2010, 11:33 AM EDT

    Boras sulking

    This comes up every winter and I don’t feel like we ever get to the bottom of the issue. Probably because it’s boring to most people, but I still think it’s important. Query: Does Scott Boras’ status as the Alpha Agent create a conflict of interest? He represents Adrian Beltre. He represents Jayson Werth. Both…

  13. Mariners re-sign Erik Bedard to non-guaranteed contract

    Dec 3, 2010, 11:16 AM EDT

    bedard

    For three years the Mariners have tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to nurse an injured Erik Bedard back to health and recoup some value from the trade that sent Adam Jones and Chris Tillman to Baltimore in February of 2008. During that time Bedard has gone from 28-year-old ace to 31-year-old question mark, sitting out all of…

  14. The Hall of Fame Ballot to end all arguments

    Dec 3, 2010, 10:59 AM EDT

    blyleven

    This Hall of Fame ballot, organized by category, perfectly encapsulates my thinking on the eligible players.  Really, I could probably avoid writing the three dozen Hall of Fame posts I plan on doing this winter simply by linking to this thing each time a guy’s name comes up.  I won’t, but I could. Wezen-Ball does…

  15. Pirates cut Lastings Milledge rather than pay him $1 million

    Dec 3, 2010, 10:47 AM EDT

    Milledge waits

    Once upon a time Lastings Milledge was a top prospect whose on-field upside was clouded by his problematic personality. Three teams and 1,655 plate appearances later, it turns out maybe he just wasn’t all that good. Milledge has hit just .269 with a modest .723 OPS in his five-season career, including .277 with a .712…

  16. Buster Olney thinks Jeter will sign today

    Dec 3, 2010, 10:30 AM EDT

    mlb_jeter

    There’s not much else to that, but in today’s column, Olney says of the Yankees and Jeter “I’ll bet they reach an agreement today.” Buster isn’t one for bold predictions, so I wonder if he has some intelligence. Gosh, I hope not. I fell like I have a couple dozen more Derek Jeter posts in…

  17. Jim Thome reiterates plans to play in 2011 at age 40

    Dec 3, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

    Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers

    Free agent Jim Thome has successfully avoided media attention since finishing an amazing season that saw him hit .283 with a 1.039 OPS while stepping in for an injured Justin Morneau, but yesterday his agent told Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the future Hall of Famer “has no intention of retiring” at…

  18. HBT will be at the Winter Meetings next week

    Dec 3, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

    Disney World

    Peter Gammons was interviewed about hot stove stuff and he was asked about what happens at the Winter Meetings: It’s a lot of lobby wandering. You got everybody there and it’s fun. You see Alderson go into an elevator with (Cubs general manager) Jim Hendry and all of a sudden you start working to see…

  19. The Diamondbacks agree to a contract with Zach Duke

    Dec 3, 2010, 9:38 AM EDT

    Zach Duke throwing

    Lost in all of the midnight non-tender deadline stuff was the fact that the Diamondbacks agreed to a one-year deal with pitcher Zach Duke, who they acquired from Pittsburgh last week.  If they couldn’t do a deal, the Dbacks were going to non-tender him rather than go to arbitration. The contract: $4.25 million. In like,…

  20. Adrian Beltre: “If everything was close to the same, I would go back to Boston”

    Dec 3, 2010, 9:20 AM EDT

    beltre batting

    I can’t recall a free agent ever saying “oh, screw that town. Man, I hate it. I’d scrub toilets for a living before playing there,” but I still think it’s somewhat notable when a player praises a potential destination. Like Adrian Beltre did yesterday regarding Boston: “I got used to seeing that park full in…

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