The list of teams interested in Cliff Lee continues to swell, with the Phillies, Cubs, Angels, Red Sox, Brewers, Nationals, Dodgers, Mets, and Astros now evidently joining the Rangers and Yankees. If your brain's a bit fuzzy first thing in the morning, let me do the math for you:
There are 30 teams interested in Cliff Lee.
It's going to be the Rangers or Yankees. It benefits teams like the Nationals and Astros to tell their fans they're in the hunt. It benefits Lee and agent Darek Braunecker for cash-laden teams like Boston and the Angels to get involved. Other than that, there's nothing to see here. Move along.
Count on Lee making his decision between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
And, in the meantime, count on stories reporting that the Reds and Tigers and Newark Bears are kicking the tires.
Derek Jeter. Gold Glove. Yep. Sure did.
Interesting, maybe: Texas went to battle in the playoffs with three players who signed as undrafted free agents out of college: Bengie Molina, Darren O'Day, and Clay Rapada.
Expect Zack Greinke to be traded between now and the end of July, if for no other reason than he may push it aggressively himself. If it's true that he doesn't want to pitch under the spotlight in New York or Boston, he loses control over his next stop between this August 1 and the end of the 2012 season, when his current contract expires.
From now through July 31, Greinke has the right to block a trade to 15 teams (down from 20 the last two years). (He can actually exercise the partial no-trade clause through the end of the season, but a player of his caliber is extremely unlikely to be traded after July 31, not only because he'd have to reach the team with whom Kansas City wants to deal on revocable waivers, but also because any player coming back to the Royals that's on a 40-man roster at the time would have to reach Kansas City on waivers as well - though the latter may not be as difficult a proposition if the Royals are near the bottom of the standings.)
Greinke's no-trade hammer disappears after the 2011 season, making him tradeable without limitation in 2012, the final year of his contract. He has some control over his next home for these next nine months, and it sounds like he might be the kind of player who might decide to push the issue in that timeframe.
Kevin Goldstein ranks Blake Beavan number 9 and Josh Lueke number 15 in an "overall shallow [Seattle] system."
Clint Hurdle, one of two finalists for the Pirates' managerial job, will interview with the Mets for their skipper post today, as will new Blue Jays bench coach Don Wakamatsu. Boston bench coach DeMarlo Hale interviewed with the Mets yesterday.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports that outfielder Jeff Francoeur is expected to clear waivers and become a free agent this week, which is not really a story. Texas was never likely to go to arbitration with Francoeur, who earned $5 million in 2010, though the Rangers will probably show some interest in bringing the 26-year-old back.
It turns out that Seattle, thought at one point to be the frontrunner to land negotiating rights with Japanese righthander Hisashi Iwakuma, decided after its scouting process not to put in a bid on Iwakuma at all, according to John Hickey of AOL Fanhouse. Oakland submitted the prevailing bid, reportedly $17 million, while Texas was rumored to be in the mix as well. The A's are now in the midst of a 30-day window to negotiate a contract with the 29-year-old (the $17 million went to Hisashi's 2010 club, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles).
The Rangers' minor league free agents, according to Baseball America: righthanders Travis Chick, Jesus Colome, Warner Madrigal, Doug Mathis, Mark Prior, Elizardo Ramirez, and Michael Schlact; catchers Emerson Frostad, Kevin Richardson, and Elio Sarmiento; infielders Matt Brown, Esteban German, Hernan Iribarren, and Gregorio Petit; and outfielders Brandon Boggs, Endy Chavez, Willy Taveras, and James Tomlin.
The Round Rock Express, the Rangers' new AAA affiliate, will host Texas in an exhibition game on March 30 at Dell Diamond.
Buck Showalter hired Mark Connor (special assistant in player development) and Wayne Kirby (outfield and baserunning coordinator) away from the Rangers, making them Baltimore's pitching coach and first base coach. They'll be missed. The back fields in Surprise will never be the same without Kirby holding forth.
Texas signed 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Luis Marte for a reported $215,000 bonus.
Cincinnati outfielder Laynce Nix refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues and is now a free agent.
Philadelphia outfielder John Mayberry Jr. lasted two at-bats in his first Arizona Fall League game before suffering a leg injury. He goes into 2011 with one remaining option.
San Diego named Bob Skube hitting coach for AAA Tucson and Jimmy Jones pitching coach for AA San Antonio.
I was part of a panel discussion a month ago that the Dallas Morning News and SMU put together on the future of Dallas sports and how they're covered (including "new media"). The panel was scheduled to include Tim Cowlishaw, Brad Sham, SMU Athletic Director Steve Orsini, and Nancy Lieberman, but when Nancy had to cancel, they asked a hundred people to replace her before getting down to me on the list. It was a ton of fun to do.
The DMN put about half of the video from the event up on their website a few days ago, at this link:
(If you want to skip ahead, my portion starts at about 20:50, and Brad's very kind words about the Newberg Report are at about 30:50.)
This just in: The Chiba Lotte Marines are interested in Cliff Lee.
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(c) Jamey Newberg