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  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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…

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. Giants re-sign Uribe; DeRosa's position in flux

    Dec 30, 2009, 12:55 PM EDT

    My assumption was that Mark DeRosa would play third base for the Giants after signing a two-year, $12 million deal yesterday, but Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the 35-year-old has not been promised a set spot and “doesn’t care where he plays, so long as he’s in the lineup every…

  9. The Dodgers are interested in Joel Piniero

    Dec 30, 2009, 12:25 PM EDT

    That same Buster Olney post from last hour also has Buster hearing that the Dodgers are interested in Joel Piniero. Which is fairly hilarious given that (a) the Dodgers made no effort to keep Randy Wolf because they were afraid of what he’d cost; and (b) Piniero recently said, in effect, that he wants more…

  10. Diamondbacks set to sign Kelly Johnson

    Dec 30, 2009, 11:50 AM EDT

    Kelly Johnson took a week to ponder the Diamondbacks’ one-year offer believed to be worth around $2 million and has apparently decided to accept. Johnson is expected to finalize the contract by taking a physical exam today, choosing Arizona over at least a handful of other teams in part because the Diamondbacks wanted him to…

  11. So, how will Bay do in Citi Field?

    Dec 30, 2009, 11:30 AM EDT

    It’s behind the Insider wall, but Buster Olney passes along some analysis from the ESPN stats department — the members of whom I picture working in some shabby off-site building like the Major Crimes detail on “The Wire” — who project Jason Bay to hit 30 homers overall next year, 10 at home, 20 on…

  12. The Grapefruit League vs. the Cactus League

    Dec 30, 2009, 10:47 AM EDT

    This spring there will be 15 teams training in Arizona and 15 training in Florida. As many teams outside of Florida as in is a first, and Florida politicians don’t like it: It’s a trend that concerns Florida tourism officials and lawmakers, who are determined to keep the Grapefruit League’s 15 teams, if not entice…

  13. Sox extend Lowell through 2012!

    Dec 30, 2009, 10:30 AM EDT

    No, not that one. The other one: The Boston Red Sox and Lowell (MA) Spinners today announced the extension of their Player Development Contract (PDC) for an additional two years. The extension keeps the Red Sox New York-Penn League Short-Season Single-A affiliate in Lowell through the 2012 season. Oh, don’t look at me like that.…

  14. A bit more on the third-team-in-New York thing

    Dec 30, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT

    SI’s Tim Marchman is the one who got the lets-put-a-third-team-in-New York stuff going the other day. The followup posts on the subject by myself and others led to two primary objections: (1) it’ll never happen because Hal Steinbrenner and Fred Wilpon won’t let it happen; and (2) it won’t work, because the Yankees are too…

  15. An American manager in Venezuela

    Dec 30, 2009, 9:33 AM EDT

    Neat story in the New York Times yesterday about former Braves farmhand and minor league manager Buddy Bailey who has managed the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan league since 2002.  Is it weird to be an American manager in a country whose government is so hostile to Americans? Nah, he just channels Norman Dale:…

  16. Ken Rosenthal's Hall of Fame ballot is A-OK

    Dec 30, 2009, 9:05 AM EDT

    Ken Rosenthal says that he usually limits his Hall of Fame ballot to two or three elite candidates, but this year he votes for nine guys: Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Bert Blyleven, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell.  Rosenthal is only one voter, but since he has so…

  17. What they're saying about the Jason Bay signing

    Dec 30, 2009, 8:30 AM EDT

    Remember last night when I said the Rob Neyer’s quote about the Jason Bay deal was a great example of “less is more”?  Well, I found a better example: no words that say it all.  Now here are some comments from people who weren’t quite as concise in their analysis: Pete Abraham: “Look at this…

  18. The A's are "in the thick" of the Aroldis Chapman bidding

    Dec 30, 2009, 7:59 AM EDT

    So says Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, citing “major league sources.” Slusser notes that the A’s have been known to make a coup or two on the international market, having signed Michael Ynoa two years ago, outbidding the Yankees for the young Dominican pitcher’s services, so it’s not at all silly to think…

  19. Moyer's body suddenly remembers it's 47

    Dec 30, 2009, 2:53 AM EDT

    If Jamie Moyer did indeed make a deal with the devil, it appears that ol’ Beelzebub has decided it’s time to cash in. Moyer, who has had an amazing ability to avoid major health issues over the course of his 23-year career – a career spent baffling hitters with an array of marshmallow fastballs, Bugs…

  20. UPDATE: Cards reportedly offer Holliday 8-year deal

    Dec 29, 2009, 10:13 PM EDT

    UPDATE: MLB.com is reporting that the Cardinals have offered Matt Holliday an 8-year contract for about $16 million per season. The story also speculates that if a mystery team were to enter the Holliday mix it could be the Seattle Mariners. ****** ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the St. Louis Cardinals are becoming increasingly…

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