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  1. The Orioles continue to target Derrek Lee

    Dec 29, 2010, 5:34 AM EDT

    Derrek Lee braves

    Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun first reported this back on the 21st, but Ken Rosenthal said again last night that the Orioles are continuing to target Derrek Lee.  They’re apparently not high on the idea of getting a DH and moving Luke Scott to first base, and with the rumored Adam LaRoche offer seemingly…

  2. Report: Octavio Dotel agrees to one-year deal with Blue Jays

    Dec 28, 2010, 9:57 PM EDT

    dotel-101226

    Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Blue Jays have signed Octavio Dotel to a one-year, $3.5 million contract with a club option for 2012. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, he’ll make $2.75 million in 2011 with either a $3.75 million club option for 2012 or a $750,000 buyout, so he is…

  3. Joakim Soria says he wouldn’t block a trade to the Yankees

    Dec 28, 2010, 9:16 PM EDT

    Kansas City's Soria and Pena celebrate after the Royals' win over Tampa Bay during their MLB baseball game in Kansas City

    Amid speculation that he could the next Royal to be traded, Joakim Soria told Robert Espinosa of Mexican paper Vanguard that he wouldn’t block a deal to the Yankees, who are on his no-trade list. In fact, Soria said his no-trade list — which also consists of the Red Sox, Phillies, Tigers, Cardinals and Cubs…

  4. Craig Kimbrel confident he can close for Braves next season

    Dec 28, 2010, 7:47 PM EDT

    craigkimbrel

    Craig Kimbrel turned some heads during the NLDS against the Giants in October and now that Billy Wagner has retired, the 22-year-old right-hander is ready to compete with Jonny Venters for the closer role during spring training. Kimbrel told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is confident he can handle closing duties in…

  5. Mark Teixeira believes Andy Pettitte is leaning towards retirement

    Dec 28, 2010, 6:17 PM EDT

    Pettitte looks in

    Mark Teixeira told Ian Begley of ESPN New York today that through text messages with Andy Pettitte, he feels the veteran left-hander is leaning towards retirement. “I think, like everyone else [thinks], if he’s leaning one way, he’s probably leaning towards retiring,” Teixeira said on Tuesday at a press conference to kick off Thursday’s Pinstripe…

  6. Bobby Jenks thinks he was disrespected by the White Sox

    Dec 28, 2010, 5:23 PM EDT

    Bobby Jenks

    MLB.com’s Scott Merkin caught up with Bobby Jenks, and it seems that the White Sox’ former closer isn’t entirely pleased with his departure from the Windy City: Confusion began after free-agent slugger Adam Dunn and the White Sox agreed upon a four-year, $56 million deal. Dunn had worn jersey No. 44 in the past, but…

  7. Danny Knobler won’t vote for Bagwell, but he won’t tell you why

    Dec 28, 2010, 4:22 PM EDT

    Bagwell

    Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.com has a Hall of Fame vote. This year he gives it to Roberto Alomar and Jack Morris.  Why not anyone else? There are players I’m not voting for this year because I strongly suspect they built their credentials by cheating. And I’ve decided, after much consternation, that I’m not going…

  8. Phillies fans don’t mind the higher ticket prices

    Dec 28, 2010, 3:52 PM EDT

    Phillies-Fans

    The Philadelphia Daily News conducted a survey of Phillies fans and found that 52 percent of them were cool with the team raising ticket prices. Thirteen percent were “disappointed,” 3 percent were “angry” and 1 percent were “not sure.”  This was before the team got Cliff Lee. Am I the only one who finds Philly fans…

  9. We now have a reason to explain why Matt Kemp will improve or regress in 2011

    Dec 28, 2010, 2:56 PM EDT

    Matt Kemp

    I do not believe that anyone can know what a ballplayer’s social life means to his on-the-field performance. These aren’t figures of Greek mythology we’re talking about here. Cutting their hair, taking their prized lute, or pairing them up with or separating them from a maiden fair is just as likely to help them as…

  10. Apparently the Red Sox are building an uber-bullpen

    Dec 28, 2010, 1:39 PM EDT

    brian-fuentes-twins

    They’ve already got Papelbon, Bard and Jenks.  It would seem, however, that Theo Epstein will not rest until he has ensured that all teams playing the Red Sox have but five innings in which to work: Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are still eying Brian Fuentes. This is a long-term eyeing, as reports of the…

  11. Must-Click Link: The Case Against Jack Morris

    Dec 28, 2010, 12:40 PM EDT

    Click Here large

    We’ve seen a lot of tortured arguments in favor of Jack Morris’ Hall of Fame case.  I’d recap some of the best ones, but really, you had to be there. Anyway, today comes what I think is the definitive case against Jack Morris.  It’s by Dan Szymborski over at ESPN (sorry; Insider only).  It’s not hysterical.…

  12. Jeff Francis downplays level of free agent interest

    Dec 28, 2010, 12:19 PM EDT

    jeff-francis-rockies

    Last week Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported that at least five teams were pursuing Jeff Francis, but the Canadian left-hander talked to the Vancouver Province and downplayed the amount of interest he’s received as a free agent. It’s exciting for people to read because they think there’s lots of things happening, but it’s not as…

  13. The guys on the Hall of Fame ballot who have no shot but are worth talking about anyway

    Dec 28, 2010, 11:42 AM EDT

    Marquis Grissom

    Day two of Joe Posnanski’s week-long look at the Hall of Fame consists of his review of the 11 players on this year’s ballot who are clearly not Hall of Famers, but who, according to Joe, are worth spending a few minutes remembering.  The Carlos Baergas and Brett Boones of the world, don’t you know. I’m…

  14. Red Sox looking at southpaw Rich Hill as a bullpen option

    Dec 28, 2010, 11:17 AM EDT

    rich-hill-red-sox

    Rich Hill posted incredible strikeout totals in the minors while coming up through the Cubs’ system and had a 3.92 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 195 innings in his first full season as a starter in 2007. Unfortunately because of injuries and prolonged bouts of wildness that stands as Hill’s only full season as a…

  15. This is how silly rumors get started

    Dec 28, 2010, 10:40 AM EDT

    blanton

    The sole line about Joe Blanton in this morning’s story about the Yankees’ rotation by Pete Caldera of the Record: “The Phillies’ Joe Blanton is said to be available as a possible trade target” The headline to same story: “Yanks interested in Blanton, Garcia” There isn’t a single quote or even an allusion to the…

  16. Yunesky Maya named top pitcher in Dominican winter league

    Dec 28, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

    yunesky-maya-nationals

    Yunesky Maya signed a four-year, $6 million contract with the Nationals after defecting from Cuba and found himself in the majors following just five starts in the minors, but the 28-year-old right-hander struggled with an 0-3 record and 5.88 ERA in five September outings. Maya headed to the Dominican Republic to pitch winter ball and…

  17. Cardinals’ GM thinks the defense will be better

    Dec 28, 2010, 9:30 AM EDT

    New York Yankees' first baseman Lance Berkman falls while chasing a foul ball hit by Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler in the fourth inning during Game 5 of their Major League Baseball ALCS playoff series in New York

    Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak thinks that team defense will be better in 2011: “I’m of the belief that the defense question is being overstated. Overall, the idea that we’ve lessened our club that much defensively I guess I understand from the comment that we traded Brendan. But I don’t see the big change. I think this is…

  18. Great moments in backhanded compliments: Jonathan Papelbon edition

    Dec 28, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

    papelbon-100801

    There’s no actual news in Scott Lauber’s story about Jonathan Papelbon in today’s Boston Herald — note: there are other relievers who could take his job and if he wants a big payday next winter he had better perform in 2011 — but there’s a great line, dropped after Lauber wonders whether Papelbon was even aware…

  19. George Steinbrenner and college football

    Dec 28, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

    1970s Steinbrenner

    Bill Madden has a great piece up over at the Daily News today. Inspired by the bowl game that will be played in Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Madden reminds us of George Steinbrenner’s many ties — and undeniable love — for college football.  It’s a good history lesson. Also, if you’re at all familiar with…

  20. Nolan Ryan: “we’re overpaying some free agents that probably shouldn’t be getting paid what they are”

    Dec 28, 2010, 6:18 AM EDT

    Nolan Ryan Rangers

    Bonus question: what would Nolan Ryan have made if he were a free agent on today’s market?

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