baltimore orioles logoIt’s already been a busy morning around here, and I’m not solely referring to the doctor’s visit to which I just had to take The Little Girl in the midst of feverishly typing and rumor tracking. I woke up to find that Jon Heyman was reporting the Cubs and Jason Hammel were close to a deal. Then talks between the A’s and White Sox ticked up on Jeff Samardzija, which has some intriguing possible meanings. Then I had to make sure and get out a weekend catch-up post, because there was a ton you may have missed. And then I had to catch up on the latest Jon Lester stuff, because, well, obsession.

Whew. All before the Bullets. And while wearing this for the Ugly Sweater Winter Meetings.

  • The most interesting non-player-transaction rumor going around the Winter Meetings right now is what the Blue Jays are going to do about their open CEO position. It turns out that they might have their eyes on Orioles GM Dan Duquette, but owner Peter Angelos isn’t keen on letting him leave. We’re familiar with this story, as Duquette would be getting a promotion with the Jays, and it’s customary to let employees out of contracts to do that. But Duquette is signed for four more years, and it sounds like Angelos likes him too much to let him go for anything. Or is there some just-in-case posturing going on, knowing that the Jays would have to provide compensation if they nab Duquette? In any case, it’s an interesting storyline with a Chicago connection – White Sox Executive VP Kenny Williams is also being considered by the Blue Jays. This has gotta make things awkward for the Blue Jays, the Orioles, and the White Sox this week as these very same guys try to form their teams for next year.
  • Combine suspect reporting with social media and a foreign language, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. So it was yesterday with bogus “reports” circulating from Geocities-looking websites that not only had Starlin Castro been involved in a shooting in the Dominican Republic this weekend, but he was firing a machine gun into a crowd. Because the absurdity of that statement was not, on its own, sufficiently discrediting, Castro took to his Instagram to explain that there was nothing to the rumors. Further, Gordon Wittenmyer got an explanation from Castro’s agent. In the end, it sounds like a scary situation, with Castro and his family at a concert where shots were fired, but they are all safe, and not involved.


  • Speaking of Castro, he didn’t make Jonah Keri’s recent trade value list, and BN’er Max was curious about how close he and Jake Arrieta were, so he went straight to the source and asked Keri. His response indicated that both Castro and Arrieta were very close, and the primary things holding Arrieta back were the three years of control left (as opposed to more) and the one year pop-up performance (not 100% sure it’ll sustain). Sounds like a pretty reasonable take to me.


  • John Baker has been non-tendered, and may not return to the Cubs, but he’s well on his way to becoming one of those legendary Cubs players:

  • The Brewers ZiPS projections are out, and it looks like a few offensive starts, and then a bunch of mediocre meh. That sounds right to me. I’m not liking the Brewers’ chances to repeat their surprise 2014 contention next year.


  • I missed this earlier, and John reached out to ask me to share. All too happy to do so:




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