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  1. Royals ink Rick Ankiel to one-year contract

    Jan 21, 2010, 11:55 PM EDT

    According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, the Royals and outfielder Rick Ankiel have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.25 million contract with a $6 million mutual option for 2011. Scott Boras strikes again.  Ankiel seems like a fine human being and we should all applaud his transformation from headcase pitcher to homer-hitting outfielder,…

  2. Verlander, Tigers nearing long-term talks

    Jan 21, 2010, 7:31 PM EDT

    Tigers ace Justin Verlander told MLB.com’s Jason Beck on Thursday that he expects to engage in long-term contract talks with the club soon after his 2010 salary is decided.  Verlander requested $9.5 million and was offered $6.9 million from the Tigers when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday.  The two sides obviously disagree on his…

  3. Diving into the depths: St. Louis Cardinals

    Jan 21, 2010, 5:29 PM EDT

    This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training. St. Louis Cardinals Rotation 1. Adam Wainwright 2. Chris Carpenter 3. Kyle Lohse 4. Brad Penny 5. Mitchell Boggs 6. Jaime Garcia 7. Kyle McClellan 8. Lance Lynn 9. P.J. Walters 10. Adam Ottavino The Cardinals still figure…

  4. Bill Lee: "Jim Rice was a pain in the a–"

    Jan 21, 2010, 4:49 PM EDT

    This isn’t exactly news, but it’s a slow day and slow days are made for Bill Lee rambling about stuff. Here’s Lee comparing and contrasting Andre Dawson and Jim Rice: “Hawk’s a leader. He led by example through pain and suffering, going out there every day and laying it on the line. Character! I’d take…

  5. Matt Stairs is in the best shape of his life

    Jan 21, 2010, 4:15 PM EDT

    No, really: Matt Stairs still hoping to land a job at age 41, has dropped 31 pounds this winter, reports ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. Stairs has gone from 230 pounds to 199 — the lightest he’s been in about 15 years. Stairs lost the weight on the Nutrisystem program. It’s a pretty sad comment that Charlie…

  6. Hideki Irabu announces retirement, again

    Jan 21, 2010, 3:42 PM EDT

    Hideki Irabu came out of retirement last season to pitch for the Long Beach Armada in the independent Golden Baseball League and looked decent enough to sign on with another independent league team in Japan. Unfortunately his comeback was short-lived when a wrist injury led to his release and now the 40-year-old Irabu is retiring…

  7. Miguel Cabrera hasn't had a drink since last fall

    Jan 21, 2010, 3:11 PM EDT

    MLB.com’s Jason Beck is following the Tigers around on their Winter Caravan (Dearborn! Romulus! Royal Oak!) and just caught up with Miguel Cabrera.  Cabrera says that he’s undergone counseling and hasn’t had a drink for three months. More details from James Schmehl of MLive.com: “When you’ve got problems,” said Cabrera, “you can’t hide. As a…

  8. Phillies sign Joe Blanton to a three-year, $24 million extension

    Jan 21, 2010, 2:39 PM EDT

    UPDATE: Forget that arbitration nonsense below, the Phillies just signed Blanton to a three-year, $24 million extension.  And no, Cliff Lee would not have signed for that, so I suppose the Phillies are better off today than they were yesterday. 11:30 A.M.: Lost (by me anyway) in all of the arbitration stuff these past few…

  9. The Dodgers sign Vicente Padilla

    Jan 21, 2010, 2:23 PM EDT

    Frank McCourt was quoted yesterday as saying that, yes, the Dodgers would get another pitcher before spring training.  That plan obviously failed, but they did sign Vicente Padilla to a one year deal worth $4 million today. OK, that’s not fair. Padilla pitched well for the Dodgers down the stretch last season — 4-0 with…

  10. Jim Thome is waiting by the phone

    Jan 21, 2010, 1:54 PM EDT

    Jim Thome’s name hasn’t come up much this offseason, which is somewhat surprising for a guy who hit .249/.386/.481 with 23 homers in 434 plate appearances last year and yet not all that surprising given that he hasn’t played first base regularly since 2005. Thome still crushes right-handed pitching, but as a 39-year-old designated hitter…

  11. Bryant Gumbel accuses Bagwell, Nomar and Pudge of using steroids

    Jan 21, 2010, 1:24 PM EDT

    I don’t have HBO so I missed this, but apparently on Tuesday night Bryant Gumbel ended his “Real Sports” show by reading an open letter* to Mark McGwire, taking him to task over his apology.  While it was silly because it (a) was premised on the notion that anyone should care what Mark McGwire thinks…

  12. Finally, a retired player says not everything was better 40 years ago

    Jan 21, 2010, 12:50 PM EDT

    Jim Bouton wrote my favorite baseball book of all time, so he could say just about anything at this point and remain on my good side, but it was still nice to see him give the following answer when asked recently what he thinks “about today’s emphasis on pitch counts”: I think it’s smart. If…

  13. How bad was the Angels' offseason?

    Jan 21, 2010, 12:20 PM EDT

    Bill Baer of Baseball Daily Digest thinks it was pretty damn bad: In essence, the Angels have swapped gimpy designated hitters, downgraded from Lackey to Piniero, lost Figgins and gained Rodney. Meanwhile, Roy Halladay went to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee went to Seattle, and Aroldis Chapman went to Cincinnati. The Angels wanted an ace pitcher and…

  14. Gagne has workouts scheduled for multiple teams

    Jan 21, 2010, 11:45 AM EDT

    Yesterday afternoon I wrote about how the Phillies were sending a scout to Arizona to watch Eric Gagne throw, but now Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the 34-year-old former Cy Young winner also has “tentative workouts planned” for the Rockies, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. Gagne starred for Los Angeles from 1999-2006 and he’s…

  15. For the Red Sox fan who has everything but a life: Fenway Park grass

    Jan 21, 2010, 11:01 AM EDT

    You can buy a ten pound bag of regular old grass seed for, oh, $12-15 or so. Or, you can buy a ten pound bag of regular old grass seed with a Boston Red Sox logo on it for $22: The Scotts Co. yesterday unveiled a grass-seed product that “contains actual varieties” used for the…

  16. Geovany Soto loses 40 pounds

    Jan 21, 2010, 10:29 AM EDT

    Charlie Manuel may be the biggest loser this offseason, but he has some competition in Geovany Soto: Soto didn’t wait for the new year to change his eating habits. He has dropped 40 pounds since the 2009 season ended on Oct. 4. He’ll need a new uniform. Soto went from a size 42 waist to…

  17. Who has the worst contract in baseball?

    Jan 21, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

    Matthew Carruth at FanGraphs wants you to vote on it.  His candidates: Barry Zito, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, or the write-in candidate of your choice. I think I’ll write in FOX’s broadcast contract with Major League Baseball, though in that case neither of the parties to the deal are its biggest victims. If we limit…

  18. The Rockies sign Jay Payton, Paul Lo Duca

    Jan 21, 2010, 9:31 AM EDT

    If you looked washed up when you left baseball in 2008 and are now trying to make a comeback, the Rockies are your huckleberry: The Rockies signed Payton, who didn’t play in the Majors in 2009, to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, Rockies player development director Marc Gustafson…

  19. Closeout sale on former Mets' outfielders

    Jan 21, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

    The Astros have signed Cory Sullivan and the Blue Jays signed Jeremy Reed yesterday, both to minor league deals.  Both Sullivan and Reed played in the Mets’ nightmarish outfield mix last year. Sullivan once hit two triples in one inning.  It was the first time anyone had done that in over 50 years. In 2007…

  20. Murray Chass: my opinion counts and yours doesn't

    Jan 21, 2010, 8:28 AM EDT

    Former New York Times baseball writer and current curmudgeonly ass-clown Murray Chass, responding via his blog to a reader who disagreed with his Hall of Fame ballot: Does that make him right and me wrong? Of course not. Am I right? Yes. Why? Because my opinion counts and his doesn’t. My ballot was one of…

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