Hey, look at that. It's Friday again. Just one more day of work left before you can get cookin' on all your preparations for Sunday's big game. Game time is about 2:30 a.m. early Monday morning my time, so I'll likely skip out on the festivities this year, but "Go Niners!" nonetheless. I'm not really invested in it, but may Ray Lewis have the worst game of his career and retire in shame.
On to baseball things:
The Big Three
1. The Arizona Diamondbacks evened out the Justin Upton trade some yesterday, extending new third baseman Martin Prado for four years and $40 million. An extension for Prado, who was set to hit free agency after the 2013 season, has been part of the plan for the D'Backs since the day the blockbuster deal was made. I'm not sure that the extension automatically makes the trade a wash now (are Prado's age 29-32 seasons worth as much as Upton's age 25-27 seasons?), but it certainly helps the deal make more sense for Arizona.
2. The New York Yankees finally have their designated hitter. Veteran lefty slugger Travis Hafner has agreed to a one-year deal with the Bombers worth around $2 million guaranteed, the club essentially signing the only viable guy left on the open market. Hafner has some serious injury concerns, so if/when he goes down the Yanks are back to Russ Canzler, Juan Rivera, and Eduardo Nunez as DH options. Yikes. Cross your fingers Hafner doesn't pull something in his back or develop carpal tunnel while signing the contract.
3. Three reporters at the New York Daily News corroborated on a report yesterday that said A-Rod was "unlikely to ever wear pinstripes again" no matter how the latest PED investigations conclude, citing sources "familiar with the situation." While I get the idea that the Yankees really, really want to get rid of Alex Rodriguez and everything to do with him, there's a vast chasm between wanting something like that to occur and actually being able to do so. As an ESPN report from later in the evening detailed, Rodriguez has absolutely no intention of hanging up his cleats, and is still eyeing a mid-season return from his hip surgery. I don't know about you, but it sure sounds to me like he is going to wear Yankee pinstripes again.
The Not-So-Big Three
1. As part of their ongoing investigation into the Miami PED clinic allegations, Major League Baseball is planning to interview at least the six players implicated in the report. It's possible they will talk to more players if they can uncover more names when they meet with the editors of the Miami New Times in the coming days.
2. The Red Sox signed the back-up first baseman they've been looking for, and I would've been out of some money had I actually bet on the signing. Boston opted for Lyle Overbay instead taking a second chance on Casey Kotchman, agreeing to a minor-league deal with 36-year-old that includes an opt-out clause if he doesn't make the club out of camp. Overbay's lefty bat should complement Napoli nicely.
3. Scott Rolen is leaning towards returning for an 18th big-league season, but may decide against it if the Reds don't give him the money he wants. Cincinnati paid Rolen $6.5 million in 2012, which is way too much to guarantee to a back-up infielder on the wrong side of 35, even if he is elite defensively. If the Reds are hesitant to pay him then the Dodgers could come calling, though it has been mentioned that Rolen is not "an LA kind of guy," whatever the hell that means. I bet Igor Stravinsky wasn't "an LA kind of guy," but that didn't stop him from living in West Hollywood for 20 years.
- Chuck Klosterman puts down his usually pop-culture-heavy pen to take a fascinating look at Houston Rockets power forward Royce White, who has pushed the topic of mental illness in sports into the NBA limelight.
- Sometimes I love MLBAM, sometimes I don't. This is one of those times I don't. I'd love to embed this wonderful video of Vin Scully talking about racing Jackie Robinson on ice skates(!), but the player has no sharing capabilities for whatever reason. Anywho, you can still watch it at the link.
- Ever wanted to retcon your least favorite player off of your most favorite team? Well, Yankee fans, your prayers have been answered. Pinstriped Bible takes a whimsical revisionist-history look at the New York Yankees' last nine years, sans Alex Rodriguez.