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  1. Who are the top free agents still available?

    Jan 11, 2011, 11:18 AM EDT

    carl-pavano-mustache-pitching

    Most of the big-name free agents are off the market with a little over a month to go before pitchers and catchers start reporting to spring training, but based on Matthew Pouliot’s ranking of the top 111 free agents here are the best players still available: 1. Carl Pavano (RHP, Twins) 2. Andy Pettitte (LHP,…

  2. Is A-Rod’s contract a blueprint for an Albert Pujols deal?

    Jan 11, 2011, 11:06 AM EDT

    pujols4

    Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes today about how the Yankees dealt with Alex Rodriguez‘s last contract. It could be instructive, Goold notes, given how the Cardinals are now poised to give out the biggest contract in the game’s history. The story is interesting because it touches on something that has always troubled…

  3. Rafael Soriano is all about the money

    Jan 11, 2011, 10:31 AM EDT

    Rafael Soriano Rays

    Buster Olney: Heard this: The question of what role Rafael Soriano will play for his next team is very much secondary to what his salary will be. In other words, if some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45 million over the next three years, Soriano would consider it; he…

  4. Rockies sign reliever Sean White to minor league contract

    Jan 11, 2011, 10:22 AM EDT

    sean-white-mariners

    Colorado has at least five and possibly six bullpen spots locked in already, but the Rockies added some more relief depth yesterday by signing right-hander Sean White to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training. White struggled last season, but has a 4.16 ERA in 134 career innings spent with the Mariners and…

  5. Could Lew Wolff end up owning the Dodgers?

    Jan 11, 2011, 9:52 AM EDT

    Oakland A's Press Conference

    There’s an interesting — but troubling — musing in Buster Olney’s latest column. First Olney notes that Frank McCourt is in dire financial straits — no surprise — but then speculates about one possible outcome: It’s been awhile since Bud Selig formed the committee to study the Oakland ownership situation, with no resolution in sight…

  6. The Royals are scrounging for pitching

    Jan 11, 2011, 9:34 AM EDT

    Kansas City's Chen winds up a pitch against Tampa Bay during their MLB baseball game in Kansas City

    Dick Kaegel of MLB.com reports that the Royals haven’t ruled out re-signing Bruce Chen: With Carl Pavano apparently heading back to the Twins, the thin free-agent market still includes Kevin Millwood, linked earlier with the Royals, and their top winner from last year, lefty Bruce Chen. Millwood’s name doesn’t stir much response from Moore. What…

  7. UPDATE: Brad Penny agrees to a deal with the Tigers

    Jan 11, 2011, 9:27 AM EDT

    Brad Penny

    UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that the deal is done. As Morosi reported, $3 million.  The incentives are richer than usual, however, amounting to another $3 million. 5:55 AM: Following up on last night’s reports from Brad Penny himself, Jon Paul Morosi says this morning that the Tigers and Brad Penny are on the verge of…

  8. The Yankees are interested in Justin Duchscherer

    Jan 11, 2011, 9:09 AM EDT

    Justin Duchscherer

    When last we heard about Justin Duchscherer he was undergoing season-ending hip surgery.  That, combined with the fact that before he went down he was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA over his first five starts makes him the dictionary definition of a high-risk guy with some upside. Worth a cheap flier for someone in need of pitching.…

  9. How do the best-shape-of-their-life guys end up performing?

    Jan 11, 2011, 8:49 AM EDT

    Matt Stairs

    Fun stuff from Dave Cameron, as he went back and tracked all of the players who were referred to as being “in the best shape of their lives” last February to see how they performed in 2010. The results: So, what can we conclude from the position player side of “The Best Shape Of Their…

  10. The Mets may not release Castillo after all

    Jan 11, 2011, 8:23 AM EDT

    $$19SPYANKEESMURRAY

    Remember that report over the weekend about the Mets maybe releasing Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez?  Maybe it’s just Perez: Contrary to a weekend report that had the Mets considering releasing Luis Castillo, a club source Monday said the club has every intention of bringing him to spring training to compete for the second base job in…

  11. Stats for dummies: Beware the “Luck Dragon”

    Jan 10, 2011, 11:56 PM EDT

    betancourt-110111.standard[1]

    Have trouble understanding Sabermetrics? Do advanced metrics make your ears bleed? Bradley Woodrum is here to help. Woodrum, who writes about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay.com, has created a rather entertaining video explaining the statistic of Fielding Independent Pitching. It’s 1:43 of good wholesome fun and a straightforward explanation of why the stat is a…

  12. Former No. 1 overall pick Kris Benson retires

    Jan 10, 2011, 11:38 PM EDT

    Kris Benson throwing

    From the hardly shocking news department: Kris Benson told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that he has decided to retire. “I’m done,” the 36-year-old said by phone from his home outside Atlanta. “I decided pretty much after this past season that I wasn’t going to pursue anything. I’ve been putting way too much into it…

  13. UPDATE: Brad Penny tells us he’s close to signing a contract

    Jan 10, 2011, 9:30 PM EDT

    Brad Penny cards

    UPDATE: Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the Tigers are looking like the front-runners to sign Penny. 8:30 PM: Brad Penny just cut out the middleman and gave us the latest update on his job search via his Twitter account. “Getting close to finding my new home. Should know by the end of the day.”…

  14. Don Cooper doesn’t want the White Sox to mess with Chris Sale

    Jan 10, 2011, 7:55 PM EDT

    Chris Sale throwing

    The White Sox just officially announced a two-year, $4 million contract with left-handed reliever Will Ohman. When the agreement was initially reported on Saturday, many immediately speculated (including myself) that his addition to the bullpen would push Matt Thornton to the closer role and Chris Sale to the rotation if Jake Peavy isn’t ready for…

  15. Reds sign Fred Lewis to a one-year contract

    Jan 10, 2011, 6:15 PM EDT

    Fred Lewis high five

    The Reds have signed outfielder Fred Lewis to a one-year contract, according to the team’s Twitter feed. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that he’ll make a $900,000 base salary, plus incentives. Lewis was non-tendered by the Blue Jays in December after batting .262/.332/.442 with eight home runs, 36 RBI, 17 stolen bases and a 745…

  16. The Red Sox hire Chili Davis as a minor league hitting coach; fundamentally shift the balance of power in the AL East

    Jan 10, 2011, 5:42 PM EDT

    Chili Davis

    The Red Sox hired Chili Davis to be the hitting coach for the AAA Pawsox today. That’s swell. Nice guy. Good hitter. But probably not worth this tweet from Heyman: red sox announce hiring of chili davis as pawsox hitting coach. 1 of best/smartest guys in game. yankees still hibernating. You know, there’s a lot to…

  17. Mariners sign Adam Kennedy to minor league contract

    Jan 10, 2011, 5:20 PM EDT

    Adam Kennedy, Chris Denorfia

    Adam Kennedy, whose $2 million option for 2011 was declined by the Nationals last month, has agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training from the Mariners. Kennedy started 85 games for the Nationals last season, including 75 at second base, but hit just .249 with a .327 on-base percentage and .327…

  18. The Cubs snag backup catcher Max Ramirez from the Red Sox and it probably doesn’t matter

    Jan 10, 2011, 4:53 PM EDT

    max-ramirez-rangers

    Five days ago the Red Sox claimed backup catcher Max Ramirez from the Rangers. They’d wanted him since a trade of Mike Lowell for him fell through last year.  Guess they didn’t want him too bad, though, because they waived him today when they signed Hideki Okajima. The Cubs have now claimed Ramirez. For anyone wanted…

  19. Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life?

    Jan 10, 2011, 4:17 PM EDT

    Giants' Sandoval reacts during workouts in preparation for the Major League Baseball's World Series in San Francisco

    Maybe not. But Hank Schulman says that the Panda is on his way there: Yes, yes, yes. You’ve heard this before. You’re skeptical, and you should be, until you see what he looks like in spring training. Nevertheless, I’ve heard from a number of folks that Pablo Sandoval‘s conditioning work at a private facility in…

  20. The Rangers are interested in Jim Thome

    Jan 10, 2011, 3:40 PM EDT

    Jim Thome

    Buster Olney reports that the Rangers are “actively trying to lure” Jim Thome to Texas.  I think all teams who negotiate with players are “actively trying to lure” them, but thank you to Buster for livening up the vocabulary on this Monday afternoon. Thome would be an interesting fit in Texas. Like all big power…

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