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  1. Rays interested in Brian Fuentes as their new closer

    Dec 30, 2010, 2:52 PM EDT

    brian-fuentes-twins

    Brian Fuentes has been linked to the Red Sox for most of the offseason, but now Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays are interested in signing the veteran southpaw to be their new closer. Fuentes served as a setup man for the Twins down the stretch after coming over in…

  2. Pretty much every conversation about Matt Kemp and Rihanna

    Dec 30, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT

    Matt Kemp

    I should be really tired of those Xtra Normal videos by now.  But I’m not.  Not by a longshot. Jon Weisman did one on Matt Kemp and Rihanna over at Dodger Thoughts. And you just know that it’s a conversation that will be had in offices all over Los Angeles in the next couple of…

  3. Buster Posey is ESPN’s “Next” athlete. Uh-oh.

    Dec 30, 2010, 1:30 PM EDT

    San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 4

    Since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has named someone their “NEXT” athlete.  It’s the person who, according to ESPN, “is a future leader or trailblazer in their sport.”  They just named Buster Posey their NEXT athlete for 2011.  Buster Olney has a nice writeup of Posey here. I think Posey has as bright a future in baseball…

  4. How about this: no one from the past 25 years makes the Hall of Fame

    Dec 30, 2010, 12:33 PM EDT

    Greg Maddux

    I don’t advocate that — I think I can tell the difference between elite players of that period and non-elite players — but some are advocating it.  Maybe not in so many words, but by the criteria they’re currently employing, it’s a necessary conclusion. Example: Jeff Pearlman, who today sides with those who would bar…

  5. Metrodome collapse impacts TwinsFest and over 300 college and high school baseball games

    Dec 30, 2010, 11:47 AM EDT

    metrodome collapse

    Fortunately for the Twins they moved out of the Metrodome before it collapsed, but news that the stadium will be out of commission until at least March has a big impact on the local amateur baseball scene in Minnesota. More than 300 college and high school games that were scheduled to be played at the…

  6. Bill Lajoie was an honest man

    Dec 30, 2010, 11:23 AM EDT

    Bill Jajoie

    Murray Chass has a great story about the late Bill Lajoie.  He wrote about it in the New York Times when it occurred in 1988, but that was before I was paying attention to the New York Times, so I never heard it.  The scene: Lajoie’s Tigers trade for Fred Lynn at the end of…

  7. Rangers’ interest in Adrian Beltre may be “to drive up the price” for rival Angels

    Dec 30, 2010, 10:20 AM EDT

    Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees

    Now that the A’s have reportedly pulled themselves out of the bidding for Adrian Beltre the Angels are the presumed front-runners for the free agent third baseman, but T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com speculates that the Rangers will remain in the mix “long enough to drive up the price at the expense of the Angels.” There…

  8. Harmon Killebrew has cancer

    Dec 30, 2010, 10:14 AM EDT

    Killebrew

    This is awful news: Twins legend Harmon Killebrew announced today that he has esophageal cancer.  His statement: I was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer.   With my wife, Nita, by my side, I have begun preparing for what is perhaps the most difficult battle of my life.   I am being treated by a team of medical professionals…

  9. Joe Posnanski brings the Hall of Fame noise

    Dec 30, 2010, 9:32 AM EDT

    Posnanski

    Installment four of Joe Posnanski’s week-long series on the Hall of Fame is a dream come true for me.  Why? Because I’ll freely admit that I can be a monomaniacal nutjob when it comes to this stuff, so when a sober and respectable guy like Poz hits these notes I’m given a touch of intellectual cover. Really,…

  10. It’s never too early to predict the 2011 standings!

    Dec 30, 2010, 8:36 AM EDT

    crystal ball

    Is it too early to talk about projected standings for 2011?  I think it’s too early. It’s bound to just make people angry. So here are some projected standings for 2011 over at Replacement Level Yankees Weblog based on the CAIRO projection system. Red Sox at 98 wins. Yankees edging out the Rays for the…

  11. Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame candidacy has ushered in the age of steroids McCarthyism

    Dec 30, 2010, 5:42 AM EDT

    Jeff Bagwell

    I railed against Danny Knobler’s exclusion of Jeff Bagwell from his Hall of Fame ballot for being cowardly. He clearly believes Jeff Bagwell took steroids, but he’s afraid to even offer an opinion to that effect.  Dan Graziano of FanHouse is not problematic in that regard. He comes right out and says what he thinks:…

  12. Chad Qualls drawing interest from six teams

    Dec 29, 2010, 9:09 PM EDT

    Tampa Bay's Quallsthrows a pitch with the bases loaded with Kansas City base runners during their MLB baseball game in Kansas City

    Free agent reliever Chad Qualls turned in an ugly 7.32 ERA and 1.80 WHIP across 59 innings for the Diamondbacks and Rays in 2010 and drew very little interest during the early part of this offseason.  But that is starting to change as reliever-needy teams look to fill their bullpens. According to Joe Stiglich of…

  13. Mark Teixeira says he is well past hamstring injury

    Dec 29, 2010, 7:34 PM EDT

    Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3

    Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring during the Bomber’s ALCS matchup with the Rangers last October and was forced to sit idle for the first six to eight weeks of the offseason. It’s December now, of course, and Tex spoke to ESPN New York on Tuesday about…

  14. Oney Guillen: “Maybe I should have stepped away from the laptop”

    Dec 29, 2010, 5:29 PM EDT

    Ozzie Guillen family

    Oney Guillen went on a Chicago talk radio station today to defend his crazy-tweeting at Bobby Jenks.  Give a listen. // The only thing he said that made me think he even begins to understand that he was out of line was when he said “maybe I should have stepped away from the laptop.”  Other…

  15. Comment of the Day: No one’s buyin’ what Palmeiro’s sellin’

    Dec 29, 2010, 5:02 PM EDT

    Palmeiro Orioles

    Attention Rafael Palmerio: I think everyone is entitled to the benefit of the doubt in this world, but I don’t think my readers are ready to hop on the “I never took PEDs” bus you’re driving.  Here’s commenter disulfide, knocking it out of the park in the first comment: “I believe Raffy….but then I also…

  16. Baseball folks we lost in 2010

    Dec 29, 2010, 4:22 PM EDT

    Jose Lima

    Over at MLB.com Marty Noble writes the obligatory “remembering the baseball people who died in the past year” column. I sort of hate to see this column every year, but I’m glad we have it too. We need it. We remember guys like George Steinbrenner and Ernie Harwell because they were giants, but we so…

  17. Rafael Palmeiro insists he never took PEDs

    Dec 29, 2010, 3:03 PM EDT

    Rafael Palmeiro

    Mel Antonen conducted a long interview of Rafael Palmeiro over at SI.com.  Palmeiro says that he didn’t take steroids, that his positive test from 2005 was a mix-up and that getting elected to the Hall of Fame “would mean more than anything” to him. No one is going to believe him of course, and it’s…

  18. Orioles have “definite interest” in free agent Grant Balfour

    Dec 29, 2010, 2:36 PM EDT

    Grant Balfour

    There hasn’t been much speculation surrounding Grant Balfour, largely because he’s a Type A free agent and most teams aren’t keen on surrendering a first-round draft pick to sign a non-closer reliever. In fact, Balfour declining the Rays’ arbitration offer last month was viewed by many as a surprise because of how much the draft…

  19. The Angels are the front-runners for Adrian Beltre

    Dec 29, 2010, 2:24 PM EDT

    beltre batting

    Ken Rosenthal reports that the Angels are now the front-runners for Adrian Beltre‘s services because (a) the Athletics have dropped out; and (b) the Rangers don’t feel comfortable making the commitment in dollars and years that Beltre seems to want. The A’s have been jerked around by Beltre for a long time, it seems. They…

  20. Must-click link: Joe Sheehan’s predictions for 2011

    Dec 29, 2010, 2:06 PM EDT

    Click Here large

    I’m in the process of writing up a bunch of phony, snarky predictions for 2011 for the Rotoworld annual.  It’s thus rather refreshing to read some actual predictions for 2011 that are backed by some genuine baseball thought.  The thinker is Joe Sheehan, and some of his predictions are going to rile some of you:…

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