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  1. 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…

  2. 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.…

  3. 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…

  4. 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:…

  5. 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…

  6. 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…

  7. 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…

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. Red Sox talking to Boras about Beltre

    Dec 29, 2009, 9:11 PM EDT

    The Boston Red Sox said goodbye to Jason Bay today, and with a good dose of humor in some corners. So what do the Red Sox do now? According to Gordon Edes at ESPN Boston, they are keeping a quiet dialogue going with agent Scott Boras about free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. Now the…

  11. Quote of the Day: Neyer on the Bay signing

    Dec 29, 2009, 7:30 PM EDT

    We’ve given you in depth analysis of the Jason Bay signing, but sometimes less is more. Here was Rob Neyer’s take within minutes of the announcement, focusing on how, despite Bay’s apparent preferences, he wound up with the Mets instead of the Red Sox: We can probably figure Bay’s pride was a factor, along with…

  12. UPDATE: OK, the Mets may not yet have signed Bengie Molina

    Dec 29, 2009, 6:30 PM EDT

    Amazin’ Avenue, via Pat Andriola, says that ESPN 1050 is saying that the Mets have signed Bengie Molina.  No one else has this yet, but it wouldn’t be terribly unexpected if it happened.  Last we heard they were fighting over length-of-deal, with Molina wanting three years and the Mets wanting one year plus an option.…

  13. Thinnest rumor of the year: Jim Thome and the Tigers

    Dec 29, 2009, 6:00 PM EDT

    How thin? I’m going to base it on a single tweet from MSG Network’s Tina Cervasio, who said that she saw Jim Thome in a suburban Detroit hotel a few minutes ago.  Does that mean Thome is talking to the Tigers? Hey, why not!  TMZ is getting into sports gossip, you know. If that works…

  14. Mark DeRosa was tired of being Plan B

    Dec 29, 2009, 5:00 PM EDT

    Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch, passing along Mark DeRosa’s answer to a question about the Cardinals never getting around to making him an offer this winter: “I was just tired of being a lot of teams’ Plan B.” Can’t say as I blame him. No one wants to be stepped over. People want to go…

  15. With Bay signing, Mets put their eggs into one basket, again

    Dec 29, 2009, 4:31 PM EDT

    If there was ever a winter for the Mets to forgo their obsession with stars and improve their depth instead, this was the one. Injuries practically everywhere on the diamond devastated the team in 2009, forcing the team to turn to such non-entities as Angel Berroa, Lance Broadway and Wilson Valdez. It’s certainly true that…

  16. Bay's physical might not be a formality

    Dec 29, 2009, 4:03 PM EDT

    We’ll have more analysis of the Bay signing later — my favorite reader comment so far compares it to the Mets getting Kevin McReynolds in 1987 — but in the meantime, know that it’s not necessarily a done deal.  We passed along reports over a month ago that Bay’s health might be a concern. Jerry…

  17. Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and the Junior Circuit

    Dec 29, 2009, 3:15 PM EDT

    In response to my article earlier this afternoon comparing Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, several commenters focused on the fact that Bay out-performed Holliday in their respective time as American Leaguers. In fact, one commenter went so far as to say that Holliday “stunk” during his brief AL stint. For several years now there’s been…

  18. REPORT: Jason Bay signs with the Mets

    Dec 29, 2009, 2:44 PM EDT

    UPDATE: Joel Sherman tweets that it’s a four year, $66 million deal, but with an “easy vest” for a fifth year.  Depending how easy, it may as well be a five year deal. 2:14 P.M: WFAN’s Mike Francesa just announced that the Mets have signed Jason Bay pending a physical. No details yet — Francesa…

  19. Death threat over a Dodgers cap? Sure, that's reasonable.

    Dec 29, 2009, 2:00 PM EDT

    Given how territorial New Yorkers seem to be, maybe that whole bring a third team to New York thing is too dangerous an idea: A baseball fan threatened to kill a stranger who was wearing a Los Angeles Dodger’s hat in a Brooklyn diner yesterday. According to the Post, 38-year-old suspect Marcos Esteban — who…

  20. Jayson Stark makes the case for Barry Larkin

    Dec 29, 2009, 1:30 PM EDT

    I’ve been planning to write something touting Barry Larkin’s Hall of Fame candidacy because he’s one of several deserving players on this year’s ballot not getting enough love, but in the meantime here’s the next best thing (or maybe even the slightly better thing) … ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark used some numbers from an article I…

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