Happy morning, all.
It's a cold, rainy, and overall dreary January day here in Amman, so I sincerely hope its warmer in your neck of the woods. It was t-shirt weather here last week and now I'm spending 20 hours of my day under a bevy of blankets. I really miss Southern California sometimes.
On to the recap:
The Big Three
1. The fallout from Tuesday's big PED clinic scandal continued yesterday. A few writers, including Buster Olney, speculated that the Rangers might renew their pursuit of Michael Bourn in case Nelson Cruz is handed a 50-game suspension, but the club was quick to quash that rumor. Texas still has no intention of pursuing Bourn, and will run a platoon of sorts in right field with Mitch Moreland and Mike Olt (and probably Ian Kinsler, IMO) if Cruz does receive punishment.
Jon Daniels and company are smart not to overreact to the PED allegations. There's no reason to run and guarantee five years to a guy just because you may lose a player for half the season. Plus, Cruz is a free agent following the 2013 season, his numbers have been in decline the last two years, and Moreland and Olt are not scrap players. It doesn't really matter that they have little to no experience in right field, unless one of them is Adam Dunn reincarnate their defense will at least be comparable to Cruz's.
2. The Yankees are in talks with Travis Hafner to take over the DH role for 2013. Reports early in the day indicated that the two sides were near a deal, but by the evening it was clear that New York is still keeping its options open. The Yankees are in serious need of a designated hitter -- at the moment Eduardo Nunez(!) tops the depth chart at the position -- but the lefty-hitting Hafner is not without his risks. Hafner's serious and still-lingering injury history draws up memories of Nick Johnson, who the Yankees tried to bring back as DH in 2010. Johnson lasted but 24 games before hitting the DL for good. Hafner's a big risk, but unless New York plans on trading for a DH, he is probably the best bet still available.
3. Left-hander Joe Saunders has at least two standing offers awaiting his approval: a one-year contract with the Minnesota Twins, and a two-year pact with a mystery team (who we know is not the Orioles). Considering the recent rumors swirling around Saunders, if the two-year offer isn't from the Birds -- and isn't just an increased bid from the Twinkies -- then it's very likely come from the Seattle Mariners. The M's have had Saunders on their radar since they sent fellow southpaw Jason Vargas home to Orange County last month. While Saunders certainly isn't going to floor anyone with his stuff, he is a solid back-of-the-rotation option and could fare very well in spacious Safeco Field.
The Not-So-Big Three
1. The Rangers and Rockies had discussions about a trade that would have sent Carlos Gonzalez to Arlington, but talks never really got past the preliminary "I'll give you X for this Y + Z" stage. As with Justin Upton, the Rangers were reluctant to part with top prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt. This rumor really just sounds like Jon Daniels covering all his bases, nothing more. Fun to dream though.
2. The Red Sox are still on the hunt for a back-up first baseman, but are running out of options. Casey Kotchman, Lyle Overbay, and Justin Smoak seem the most likely candidates -- as they all bat left-handed -- but Boston could always bring in a surprise candidate as well. My money's on them bringing Kotchman back.
3. If Roy Oswalt really wants to return in 2013, it's going to have to be somewhere other than Queens. The Mets have closed the door on the veteran right-hander, who has been incredibly picky in where/when he is willing to suit up. I get the idea of wanting to spend more time with family, but why not choose to either play a whole season or retire? Seems like it would make negotiations much easier for everyone involved.
- Ever wondered what it'd be like to get a panoramic view of sprawling Dubai from the top of the Berj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world? Well, now you don't have to wonder anymore. Not really sure when they found a day in which the sky was so clear. The whole time I was there the top half of the building was clouded in a brown haze. For those curious, that's not actually the city in its entirety. There's a whole other multitude of skyscrapers on the horizon in both directions along the gulf.
- This guy writes things in fictional spy novels and that end up coming true. Coincidence? Probably. Doesn't mean it wouldn't make a pretty damn cool movie.