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  1. Russ Branyan initially wanted at least $20 million

    Feb 4, 2010, 12:48 PM EDT

    ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes the reason Russell Branyan is now scrambling for work and likely to end up with a modest one-year deal is that he began the offseason looking for a three-year contract worth “somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.” Adam LaRoche had a similarly inflated initial asking price, but was still able…

  2. Carlos Marmol and the Cubs come to terms

    Feb 4, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

    The Cubs and Carlos Marmol have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.125 million deal that splits the difference between their competing demands. Marmol stunk on ice as the setup guy last year, but once he took over for Kevin Gregg as closer in August he stopped hitting as many guys and throwing the…

  3. Mauer's backup doubtful for Opening Day after wrist surgery

    Feb 4, 2010, 11:45 AM EDT

    While the Twins work on a long-term contract extension for Joe Mauer his presumed backup, Jose Morales, recently underwent surgery to “stabilize a tendon in his right wrist.” Morales is hoping to resume baseball activities in mid-March, but even if he avoids a setback that doesn’t leave much time to be ready for Opening Day.…

  4. Butchering the National Anthem

    Feb 4, 2010, 11:20 AM EDT

    I’m not a fanatic about it — I think some of the more unique interpretations of the National Anthem are kinda neat — but MLB.com’s Mike Bauman has a point: “The Star-Spangled Banner” has been trivialized, tortured and trampled upon at ballparks throughout America. Obviously, there are completely acceptable renditions of the anthem sung before…

  5. FOX to air Saturday night games

    Feb 4, 2010, 10:58 AM EDT

    But . . . but what excuse will I use to get out of mowing the lawn now? For the first time in the network’s 15 years of broadcasting Major League Baseball games, FOX has scheduled two nights of regular-season games as part of its 2010 Saturday schedule, according to a news release issued Wednesday…

  6. If you're gonna put Joba in the pen, make it count

    Feb 4, 2010, 10:58 AM EDT

    If the Yankees are hellbent on keeping Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in the pen, David Pinto has a great idea of how to maximize their value: It strikes me that both in the pen could radically alter the Yankees roster. The Yankees would only need nine pitchers, maybe ten. The starting staff is more…

  7. Pujols and the Cardinals are negotiating

    Feb 4, 2010, 10:28 AM EDT

    Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch, in response to a reader’s question about why the Cardinals front office has been so quiet since the Holliday signing, says “Though the club won’t confirm talks, negotiations with Pujols are also taking up time.” That’s got to be encouraging for Cards fans, though I wonder if any real progress…

  8. The Mets can't walk and chew gum at the same time

    Feb 4, 2010, 9:28 AM EDT

    That’s not just some jerky Braves fan saying that, according to Murray Chass, the people that try to deal with them are saying it: But more than one agent cited the Mets’ inability to deal with more than one free agent at a time as the primary reason they lost out on free agents. “We’re…

  9. Things aren't going well between the Giants and Tim Lincecum

    Feb 4, 2010, 8:58 AM EDT

    So, how are those pre-arbitration negotiations goin’, fellas? To say the recent discussions between the Giants and Thurman [Lincecum's agent], who exchanged arbitration numbers featuring the largest gap in the history of the process, have not gone well is an understatement. According to several sources, what’s been going on between the Giants and Lincecum/Thurman shouldn’t…

  10. The Yankees: the worst case scenario Part II

    Feb 4, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

    On Tuesday Andrew from NYaT imagined what it would look like if every bat in the Yankee lineup went sideways.  Yesterday he moved on to the pitchers: CC Sabathia: What it would look like: Alex Fernandez after Marlins won the 1997 World Series. In December of 1996, the Florida Marlins General Manager Dave Dombrowski brought…

  11. MLB and MLBPA agree: Clubs can't force players to donate to team charities

    Feb 4, 2010, 8:00 AM EDT

    You’ll recall there was a bit of a hubub last spring when it was revealed that Manny Ramirez’s contract with the Dodgers required him to donate $1 million to Dodgers’ charitable foundation.  At the time Frank McCourt said that, going forward, all Dodgers contracts would contain similar provisions. It was later revealed that over 100…

  12. Sizemore regrets racy photos went public

    Feb 4, 2010, 1:05 AM EDT

    I can certainly understand why professional athletes would be unable to stop from staring at themselves whenever they happen to wander in front of a mirror. After all, the vast majority of them are supreme physical specimens. But let’s hope the practice of taking racy photos of themselves in front of these mirrors is not…

  13. If Canseco wants a fight, Herschel Walker 'will hurt' him

    Feb 3, 2010, 11:51 PM EDT

    A couple of days ago Jose Canseco broke out of his shell and decided to – for once – attract a little bit of attention to himself, humbly offering to show former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker the ropes around the MMA world. Actually, in a tweet, what Canseco wrote was that he would “have…

  14. Verlander, Tigers reach $80M extension

    Feb 3, 2010, 7:36 PM EDT

    According to the Associated Press, the Tigers have agreed to a five-year, $80 million extension with right-hander Justin Verlander. The new deal will allow Verlander and the Tigers to avoid an arbitration hearing this year and will keep the ace in Detroit through the 2014 season.  It essentially covers his last two years of arbitration-eligibility…

  15. Diving into the depths: Baltimore Orioles

    Feb 3, 2010, 7:19 PM EDT

    This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training. Baltimore Orioles Rotation 1. Kevin Millwood 2. Jeremy Guthrie 3. Brad Bergesen 4. Brian Matusz 5. Chris Tillman 6. David Hernandez 7. Jason Berken 8. Mark Hendrickson 9. Jake Arrieta 10. Troy Patton 11. Alfredo Simon 12. Brandon…

  16. Adam Jones' mother would like to set the record straight

    Feb 3, 2010, 6:53 PM EDT

    We had some fun with Adam Jones earlier today, but I just received a comment that provides much more in the way of background.  Except where the Mets are involved I’m nothing if not fair, so take it away Mrs. Bradley: Let me clarify any misconceptions that are currently out there with reference to my…

  17. Nomar Garciaparra headed for retirement?

    Feb 3, 2010, 6:23 PM EDT

    36-year-old free agent Nomar Garciaparra is “widely expected” to retire, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Garciaparra posted a disappointing .281/.314/.388 batting line with three home runs and 16 RBI in 160 at-bats as a backup corner infielder for the A’s last season.  He’s a major injury risk and is no longer…

  18. Quote of the day II: Steve Bisciotti on salary caps

    Feb 3, 2010, 5:20 PM EDT

    Steve Bisciotti owns the Baltimore Ravens. He also either doesn’t know jack about baseball or is so blinded by salary cap politics that he feels he has to pretend that he doesn’t. Here he is today talking about the Yankees’ payroll advantages: “It certainly doesn’t show up in the standings. If I’m a Yankees fan,…

  19. Selig praises new supplement law, J.C. Romero awaits apology

    Feb 3, 2010, 4:44 PM EDT

    Senators McCain and Dorgan introduced some new legislation today that proposes to more closely regulate the supplement industry in the wake of reports that many products contain designer steroids and other such nasties which aren’t disclosed to the public.  Bud Selig just released a statement on it: “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I would…

  20. Casey Kotchman, M's agree to a deal

    Feb 3, 2010, 4:07 PM EDT

    UPDATE: Street reports that the deal is for $3.5 million.  Hmm, that’s $17,500 on the high side of the midpoint!  I hereby declare this a resounding victory for team Kotchman! And I get the fail of the day for getting my math wrong. This is why I am a blogger. 2:29 P.M.: Casey Kotchman and…

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