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  1. Marlon Byrd to sign a three-year deal with the Cubs

    Dec 31, 2009, 2:17 PM EDT

    UPDATE: According to Gordon Wittemyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, the Byrd deal is backloaded: $3 million this year, $5.5 million in 2011 and $6.5 million in 2012. I guess that’s because Byrd is gonna get more valuable as time goes on. 12:22 P.M.: Rosenthal just tweeted that it’s happening. A three year deal, details to…

  2. Phillies to sign Danys Baez

    Dec 31, 2009, 1:32 PM EDT

    Remember how the Phillies were reported to be close to signing a mystery reliever that everyone knew was going to be Danys Baez? Yeah, it’s Danys Baez.  My guess is that the deal will be something of a comedown from the three-year $18 million the Orioles just got done paying him.

  3. Remembering Roberto Clemente

    Dec 31, 2009, 10:51 AM EDT

    When I was little I was given a biography of Roberto Clemente. It wasn’t a tome or anything. It was one of those little Scholastic Readers, probably bought at an elementary school book fair. Though I would later come to appreciate Clemente’s game, his arm, his bat and his unique and colorful personality a bit…

  4. The Yankees are getting younger

    Dec 31, 2009, 10:27 AM EDT

    Good observation at NoMaas: since Brian Cashman was given more or less complete control in 2005, the Yankees have gotten younger and younger, with the average age of the team’s pitchers clicking down nearly five years since then and the average age of the hitters going down nearly two years. So sure, the Yankees’ payroll…

  5. The five worst deals so far

    Dec 31, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT

    I’ll be honest: I miss those halcyon days of the late 90s when guys like Pat Meares would get $15 million deals. Sure, we still see stinkers, but not in the sheer volume we used to. Now we’re left with only one or two total head scratchers every winter. There’s still plenty of time for…

  6. The Rockies sign Miquel Olivo

    Dec 31, 2009, 9:25 AM EDT

    The Rockies were playing footsies with Yorvit Torrealba earlier this month, reportedly close to a deal to bring him back to Colorado, probably as Chris Ianetta’s backup, but maybe more as an 1-1A setup.  Now, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, they appear to have moved away from him, and have signed Miguel…

  7. Bill Conlin's less-than-perfect Hall of Fame ballot

    Dec 31, 2009, 8:55 AM EDT

    There will probably be a lot of these today. They’re all kind of fun on some level. Here’s Bill Conlin’s: Blyleven, Morris, Dawson, Alomar, Martinez and McGriff. Conlin has been on the Morris bandwagon for a while so that’s expected. At least he pairs him up with Blyleven. I’m surprised to see him go for…

  8. Ken Davidoff's perfect Hall of Fame ballot

    Dec 31, 2009, 8:25 AM EDT

    Yesterday I said that there were no perfect Hall of Fame ballots. I should have waited to see Newsday’s Ken Davidoff’s before I said that, because his is pretty close to perfect: Alomar, Blyleven, Larkin, Martinez, McGwire, Raines, Trammell. There is no one on that list I wouldn’t include on my own ballot. There is…

  9. Cards, Holliday reportedly "closing in on a deal"

    Dec 31, 2009, 6:04 AM EDT

    Yesterday I said “Holliday signs with St. Louis in the next 48 hours, right?” Fine, make it next week, but the end game approacheth Last night Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals and Matt Holliday are “working toward an agreement that multiple sources described as gaining momentum.” There is no indication that…

  10. Lowell has surgery, faces 6-8 weeks of rehab

    Dec 31, 2009, 2:23 AM EDT

    Mike Lowell had surgery on his thumb on Wednesday, and it was horribly unsuccessful. The thumb was accidentally cut off by surgeons, and in their haste to fix the error, they sewed it back on the wrong hand. Just kidding, folks. Lowell did have surgery (I wasn’t kidding about that) but as the headline on…

  11. Yankees intrigued by Chapman's potential

    Dec 30, 2009, 11:32 PM EDT

    Aroldis Chapman might be the most interesting player on the free agent market, and not just because of his agent fiasco, his potential tax issues and the questionable company he keeps. No, Chapman is a largely unknown flame-thrower from Cuba with tantalizing talents of Nuke LaLouche proportions. He has been attracting plenty of interest around baseball,…

  12. Today's Matt Holliday rumors don't pass the smell test

    Dec 30, 2009, 8:47 PM EDT

    Jon Heyman ads a smidgen more to Buster’s earlier tweet: “[The Cardinals] offered holliday at least 6 years and $100-million-plus at some point. but he didnt accept and is still talking to multiple teams“ That particular wording doesn’t necessarily clarify anything. “[A]t least 6 years” could still mean that it was $100 million over, say,…

  13. Justin Duchscherer talks about his depression

    Dec 30, 2009, 6:00 PM EDT

    Newly-signed Athletics’ starter Justin Duchscherer participated in a conference call with local reporters today. The Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that he discussed his battle with depression at length during the call and has some of the details and flavor of it all here. Dealing with depression is a tough enough row to hoe, but the…

  14. Matsui thinks he can still play defense

    Dec 30, 2009, 5:15 PM EDT

    Hideki Matsui, upon arriving back in Japan: “I’d like to prove I can play defense at spring training. It will be difficult to play defense every day like in the past, but I’d like to reach the point where I can play defense once every few games.” Matsui played no defense last season. He played…

  15. Holliday's offer from the Cardinals is north of $100 million

    Dec 30, 2009, 4:34 PM EDT

    Buster Olney tweets that Matt Holliday’s offer from the Cardinals exceeds $100 million. We’ve been hearing more in the $80 million range for offers. With Bay signing and no sign of other serious offers, I can’t really imagine that the Cardinals have actually upped their offer in terms of guaranteed money, so this has to…

  16. The Orioles hire Mike Bordick

    Dec 30, 2009, 4:00 PM EDT

    You’d figure that if anyone was going to hire Mike Bordick as a coach it would be to coach defense considering, you know, that he was one of the best defensive players in the game back in the day.  Nope, he’s going to be a roving small ball coach: The club signed a one-year deal…

  17. Ryan Braun, Scott Feldman honored

    Dec 30, 2009, 3:31 PM EDT

    And you thought the awards season was over: Professional baseball stars Ryan Braun and Scott Feldman received off-season honors December 23, getting named the Most Valuable Jewish Players of the Year by an organization dedicated to celebrating Jews in the national pastime. Jewish Major Leaguers, a Newton, Mass., not-for-profit, selected Braun as its player of…

  18. UPDATE: The Orioles have not offered Matt Holliday $130 million

    Dec 30, 2009, 2:56 PM EDT

    UPDATE: “Andy MacPhail vehemently denied a report today from Foxsports.com that said the club had made an 8-year, $130 million offer to free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday.”  Buster Olney‘s source: “The story is not accurate in any respect.” Ahem. I wonder if someone, say, an agent known for trying to create the perception of high demand…

  19. Are the Cubs shopping Carlos Zambrano or not?

    Dec 30, 2009, 1:57 PM EDT

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that “the Cubs are definitely dangling Carlos Zambrano” while Jon Heyman of SI.com dismissed Zambrano rumors as “a time waster” because he has a no-trade clause and plans to remain in Chicago. So which is it? Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune went to the Cubs’ general…

  20. Remember the Jays signing Ramon Castro? Well, they kinda didn't

    Dec 30, 2009, 1:28 PM EDT

    I’m not going to say that the hot stove season moves a bit too fast for its own good these days, but it was probably only a matter of time before this happened: It turns out that the power-hitting back-up catcher who everyone reported that the Blue Jays had signed earlier this month is still…

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