Breakfast Links: Scott Hairston, Justin Upton, Jason Kubel

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

Your daily morning recap of yesterday's top stories!

Morning, everyone.

After a day off to take care of some other business -- i.e. finding a job -- I'm back to make your morning brighter. It's OK if you didn't miss me, I get that a lot. Big thanks to Justin for taking the reins on this yesterday.

Wednesday was a national holiday here in Jordan for the purpose of allowing everyone the opportunity to vote in the national parliamentary elections. Even though the elections were in the middle of the week. What a novel idea.

There was so much free time to vote, in fact, even a horde zombies allegedly found time to fill out ballots.

Anywho... on to baseball things:

The Big Three

1. The Toronto Blue Jays may be the consensus victor of the offseason, but the Chicago Cubs can't be too far behind. The Cubbies have added Edwin Jackson, Scott Baker, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Feldman, and Kyuji Fujikawa already this winter, and yesterday they swooped in out of nowhere to sign veteran outfielder Scott Hairston to a two-year, $6 million deal. Chicago already has a pretty good outfield going for them with Alfonso Soriano in left, David DeJesus in center, and Schierholtz in right, but the addition of Hairston gives the club a great platoon option that should make them stronger overall. Had the Cubs signed Hairston to be a starting outfielder it would have been a bad move, but if they can utilize him against southpaws primarily it should end up working out very well.

2. The Atlanta Braves have stepped up their pursuit of Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton, with the hope of getting both Upton brothers under one roof. The Texas Rangers appear to be the #Barves' only competition for the young outfielder at this point, though their level of interest is rather nebulous. With that in mind, the only thing really standing between Atlanta and a new left fielder is whether or not they can get Arizona GM Kevin Towers to agree to a prospect package for Upton that doesn't include Andrelton Simmons, who the Braves are holding on to for dear life. If the Braves are willing to part with Randall Delgado and/or Julio Teheran, I can see the D'Backs settling for Tyler Pastornicky instead of Simmons.

3. The D'Backs are also in the midst of shopping another one of their corner outfielders, Jason Kubel. There's been a back and forth between Upton and Kubel for weeks about which player the club would rather part with, but now it's seeming very possible that both could be dealt before all is said and done. The Orioles are the latest club to jump into the pursuit for Kubel, who could fill in nicely for them in left field. Baltimore would just be the latest to jump on the platoon outfield bandwagon, with Kubel likely splitting time with the righty-hitting Nolan Reimold. The Mets asked around about Kubel a while back and could come back into the fray now that Hairston is off the market.

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The Not-So-Big Three

1. Arizona avoided arbitration with Cliff Pennington yesterday, signing the light-hitting shortstop to a two-year, $5 million deal. Not exactly the kind of move you'd expect a team on the verge of trading for a new shortstop to make, especially with the much younger, probably better Didi Gregorius on the roster.

2. Veteran reliever Kyle Farnsworth has narrowed his search for a new contract down to two clubs: the Tampa Bay Rays and the infamous Mystery Team. My guess would be that the right-hander returns to St. Petersberg for a third season, if only because I doubt Farnsworth wants to be paid in Scooby Snacks, tasty as they may be.

3. The Rays were awfully busy yesterday, signing four players to minor-league deals and targeting Luke Scott to fill their very empty DH spot. That worked so well last time, why not try it again?

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Extra Innings

- I'm just gonna leave the Pope here...

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God, I hope that's real.

h/t CBS Sports and NotGraphs

- Find yourself getting addicted to online games easily? Did you have a lot of things you wanted to get done today? Then don't click this link.

- The idea of park factors still confounds me at times. What is it that makes Angel Stadium such a haven for pitchers and the Great American Ballpark a bandbox? Well, now you can overlap the two to see where the differences lie. Not that it really answers anything, but it's still neat.

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