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espn had rumors of a trade that would send Alex Rios to San Francisco for pitcher Tim Lincecum

I've heard those rumors too, it would be a total steal for the Jays, I don't mind Rios, no question he's a nice ball player but Lincecum is still just a kid (22-23) he's got a great power arm and a nice curve to complement his 96-99 fastball, I really see this kid becoming a guy who is in Cy Young contention on a yearly basis. Looks a lot like Oswalt out there.

Only concern is, he's very small, and when a small guy throws that hard you will sometimes see major arm problems.

I've been listening to XM's baseball coverage religiously during the winter meetings and Buck Martinez was saying there's a split among the Giants decision makers on this one, which is what's holding it back because the Jays would do it without hesitating.

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Just a note, saw this as I was heading to bed, Andruw Jones signed with LA, 2 years 36.5 mill.

Decent signing for LA, see if he can bounce back.

I'm not disappointed to see him leave, for several reasons, but most of all a kid named Jordan Schafer who's on his way up through the system, it's a similar situation to when they had Francoeur on his way up, they don't want to block his path by signing anyone to more then 1 year (They signed Raul Mondesi, but cut him later in the year and called Francoeur up), but they aren't sure they want a kid that young to start the season on the big club, so what will likely happen is sign a veteran for a year, if he plays great, then awesome more time for Schafer to develop, and if not, we'll see him on the club by June-July.

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Guest habsfan#08
espn had rumors of a trade that would send Alex Rios to San Francisco for pitcher Tim Lincecum

My dream come true!!!!!

Roy, all your artwork has gone super-Braves. :D

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Roy, all your artwork has gone super-Braves. :D

I'm excited about next season, Teixeira for a full season, Glavine back in the rotation, Hampton, well we'll see if he can stay healthy and contribute, Mike Gonzalez will be back, one of the better lefty relievers in baseball. I think it's a better team this year, the important thing will be keeping Chipper on the field, he needs to be healthy and needs to anchor that lineup for atleast 145-155 games this season.

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Guest LarryRobinson

How many AL teams are hands down better than the best NL team?

Lets start with the assumption that either Colorado, Mets, Phillies, Chicago, Dodgers, or D-Backs are the best NL team, I know its sad, but really they are all pretty bad.

Better AL teams hands down -

Sox, Yanks, Tigers, Indians, and arguably

Jays, Angels, maybe Minnesota if they hold onto Santana.

The discrepency between leagues next season will be frightening.

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How many AL teams are hands down better than the best NL team?

Lets start with the assumption that either Colorado, Mets, Phillies, Chicago, Dodgers, or D-Backs are the best NL team, I know its sad, but really they are all pretty bad.

Better AL teams hands down -

Sox, Yanks, Tigers, Indians, and arguably

Jays, Angels, maybe Minnesota if they hold onto Santana.

The discrepency between leagues next season will be frightening.

The AL is better, there's no doubt, but it's not as big a discrepancy as you think imo.

Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Indians as well as the Angels are for sure the class of the AL (IMO putting the Angels in the Blue Jays, Minnesota class is dramatically underrating them as I'd rank them ahead of the Indians.)

As for the NL, I think right now the class of the NL is, Colorado, Philly, Padres, Dodgers and Braves.

DBacks have a lot to prove, they were very good last year BUT still gave up more runs then they scored, so I'm not sure if it's a mirage or if they're for real.

The Mets lost Glavine, who really was really their only reliable starter last year, and they need a pitcher in the worst way, until they add that pitcher, they aren't in the upper class.

Maybe I'm bias, but I think you're underrating the Braves (and the Padres, but no bias there) by leaving them off behind teams like the Mets, Cubs and D-Backs.

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Guest LarryRobinson
The AL is better, there's no doubt, but it's not as big a discrepancy as you think imo.

Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers and Indians as well as the Angels are for sure the class of the AL (IMO putting the Angels in the Blue Jays, Minnesota class is dramatically underrating them as I'd rank them ahead of the Indians.)

As for the NL, I think right now the class of the NL is, Colorado, Philly, Padres, Dodgers and Braves.

DBacks have a lot to prove, they were very good last year BUT still gave up more runs then they scored, so I'm not sure if it's a mirage or if they're for real.

The Mets lost Glavine, who really was really their only reliable starter last year, and they need a pitcher in the worst way, until they add that pitcher, they aren't in the upper class.

Maybe I'm bias, but I think you're underrating the Braves (and the Padres, but no bias there) by leaving them off behind teams like the Mets, Cubs and D-Backs.

Agree with you on the Angels, I did underrank them, probably because as a Sox fan we dismantled them so handily in the playoffs, but yes they are right up there.

As for the NL teams, I will go the extra mile to underrate the Braves because I indeed hate them, so nice job in spotting that. Although I dont see how they will be very good, or if they are good, it only further proves that the NL blows.

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As for the NL teams, I will go the extra mile to underrate the Braves because I indeed hate them, so nice job in spotting that. Although I dont see how they will be very good, or if they are good, it only further proves that the NL blows.

Well I'm a pretty huge Braves fan, so it might be bias speaking, but I actually think the Braves are a very good club, they have one of the best offenses in all the majors, and having Teixeira for the full season is an upgrade on Andruw.

As for how I think they will get better? The offensive upgrade of Tex over 162 games, and most importantly adding Glavine, sounds funny eh? This guy brings 12-15 wins, but more importantly brings 200+ innings, and last year after Smoltz and Huddy we had a very hard time getting innings from our starters, and it taxed our pen, now having Glavine and possibly Hampton back, all the sudden our rotation goes from a major weak point to a strong point for the club.

Also at some point Mike Gonzalez will be back in the pen, he's a lefty who's good enough to be a good closer, but with Soriano we will likely use him in a set up role.Trying to be as impartial as I can, I like our clubs chances this year in the NL.

Agree with you on the Angels, I did underrank them, probably because as a Sox fan we dismantled them so handily in the playoffs, but yes they are right up there.

You're right about that, but the Angels had some injuries in that series and also made some key additions, Hunter and Garland (like they needed another starter)

Don't be shocked to see them add another bat, they have several VERY capable starters, more then they need, and 3 very good young ones who would attract a nice return. I think that was the idea in acquiring Garland in the first place.

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Guest LarryRobinson
Well I'm a pretty huge Braves fan, so it might be bias speaking, but I actually think the Braves are a very good club, they have one of the best offenses in all the majors, and having Teixeira for the full season is an upgrade on Andruw.

The offensive upgrade of Tex over 162 games, and most importantly adding Glavine, sounds funny eh?

Also at some point Mike Gonzalez will be back in the pen, he's a lefty who's good enough to be a good closer, but with Soriano we will likely use him in a set up role.Trying to be as impartial as I can, I like our clubs chances this year in the NL.

Tex is an upgrade, but I still put your lineup a distinct third behind the Phillies and Mets in the East. Tex, Chipper, McCann, Francouer, and maybe K. Johnson are all players, but you have ? marks after that.

I watched Glavine live at Shea the last Mets game of the season. You can have him. He rarely gets out of the 6th, and he's prone to the 'big' inning these days. Is it an upgrade? Sure. But this aint 1994. Your pen is above average and will win you games. Again I think the NL is so muddled with about 6-8 teams that can win the pennant, I'll throw the Braves in there, but like all of the NL teams, they dont stand out from the pack

You're right about that, but the Angels had some injuries in that series and also made some key additions, Hunter and Garland (like they needed another starter)

Don't be shocked to see them add another bat, they have several VERY capable starters, more then they need, and 3 very good young ones who would attract a nice return. I think that was the idea in acquiring Garland in the first place.

Agreed. They always are a strong team, they have some postseason problems with the Sox the past 5 years, otherwise I put them in WS contender status.

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Tex is an upgrade, but I still put your lineup a distinct third behind the Phillies and Mets in the East. Tex, Chipper, McCann, Francouer, and maybe K. Johnson are all players, but you have ? marks after that.

I watched Glavine live at Shea the last Mets game of the season. You can have him. He rarely gets out of the 6th, and he's prone to the 'big' inning these days. Is it an upgrade? Sure. But this aint 1994. Your pen is above average and will win you games. Again I think the NL is so muddled with about 6-8 teams that can win the pennant, I'll throw the Braves in there, but like all of the NL teams, they dont stand out from the pack

After that in the lineup, they have Yunel Escobar, he's a good ball player no question mark imo, he's the reason they traded Renteria despite Renteria's affordable salary. He's no power guy, but he'll hit .300-.315.

One of the other guys is, Matt Diaz is a funny case, because over the past 600 at bats, the guy has hit .330, that's equivalent to a full season, do I see him as a .330 hitter? No ofcourse not, but the guy can rake, and he's a bottom of the order guy for us, so those aren't question marks imo, you can't have big power guys through out the lineup, and Yunel will probably hit leadoff, and Diaz will likely hit 7th, so it's not like we're really relying on those guys, I like them in the role they're in.

Centerfield is no doubt a question mark, 100% agree there, who ever we get will be a stop gap, who can hopefully go get it out in center and he'll hit 8th in the order.

As for the Mets order being batter, I definitely disagree, Braves have outscored them the last couple years and the 2 teams are just about even in every stat, so I'd say they're similar offensive clubs. The Mets have 3 studs, Reyes, Wright and Beltran, they anchor the order, and after that, I feel they have more question marks then us, Castillo plays a good 2nd base and slaps the ball around well, so he's not a question mark. I wouldn't say Delgado is a question mark either depending on what you expect from him, he isn't the player he once was, but he's got some power in that bat, Alou is injury prone, Schneider is good behind the plate but he struggles with the stick, Church can hit, but we'll see how he does playing IN New York. So I think we're about even offensively. If the Mets land a good quality starter, I think we're about even as a club too, all they need is to replace 200 innings and 13 wins. If they add a ace, like a Santana, Haren or Bedard without taking too much off their starting roster, then they vault to the head of the NL class (It's that tight).

As for Glavine, you are right, it's not 1994, and with Hudson and Smoltzie at the top of the rotation, all we're really asking for from him is 12-15 wins, plus 200 innings, and he's been delivering that for 20 years now, so I think we can count on that I know he is no ace, and he's not a 9 inning pitcher and all his flaws, saw a lot of him pitch last year, but he does know how to win and keep a team in ball games and I think our offense can can help make him a 13-14 game winner but really all I'm worried about is 200+ quality innings. Last season after the top 2, we couldn't get any quality innings last year, and it wore out our pen and caused huge problems, with Glavine and potentially Hampton, everyone moves back a spot so it fills out nice, I also hope Glavine can help in mentoring Chucky James, but we'll see. Last year the 5 spot in the rotation went 4-14 for the club, that cost us the playoffs, this year, with the depth, Chuck James will likely be our 5 guy, and if he even go .500, then we should be a playoff type club imo. So yes, I might be overly optimistic, but like you said the NL is so wide open this year, there's about 6-8 clubs who can honestly say they have a shot at winning a pennant.

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tigers made a big move, i believe the angels moves forced their hand alittle.

Exactly, that's why the AL is so good right now, teams are constantly pushing each other to be better, and now the Tigers move will have others teams looking to better themselves.

I was going to say "will have the Yankees are Red Sox looking to better themselves," but those teams are always looking to better themselves regardless of what other people are doing.

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Anyone help me with any info or opinion on how the Cubbies are shaping up, will they be in the mix again come the playoffs?

Well the NL Central is totally wide open this year, the Cubs haven't made any real significant upgrades this offseason yet, they're trying to trade Prior, and I think they'll get pretty good value back for him despite his injuries.

They're trying to sign Fukudome out of Japan, he sounds like a good ball player.

So we'll see what they do, they will be in the mix for sure imo, but only because the central is so weak, they have a lot of room for improvement.

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Onzeee, I know you're a big Reds fan, so I wanted to get your thoughts on your guys offseason so far?

Dusty Baker is the new skipper i like that hiring, Wayne filled a huge huge hole by signing free agent closer Francisco Cordero to a four-year, $46 million contract. Just recently we released Jorge Cantu

We need a starter roy as you know and wayne has been burning up the phones looking for a deal but nothing to date... been rumored the be interested in Bedard,Haren and prior. right now the rotation is Harang Arroyo Belisle with Bailey hoping to grab the 5 spot, the rest of the winter will be focused on getting a good starting pitcher.

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Dusty Baker is the new skipper i like that hiring, Wayne filled a huge huge hole by signing free agent closer Francisco Cordero to a four-year, $46 million contract. Just recently we released Jorge Cantu

We need a starter roy as you know and wayne has been burning up the phones looking for a deal but nothing to date... been rumored the be interested in Bedard,Haren and prior. right now the rotation is Harang Arroyo Belisle with Bailey hoping to grab the 5 spot, the rest of the winter will be focused on getting a good starting pitcher.

Dusty was a good hiring, agree about that. Also a huge move adding a much needed closer, moving Weathers down to the set up role, which he will thrive in, you guys go from having a shaky pen to a pretty promising one by adding one guy.

As for another starter, http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...090377/1071/SPT

That's an interesting article stating the Reds are still very much in the Bedard hunt, although it would pricey.

There are some interesting names on the UFA market, guys you can take a chance on and get cheap but who have excellent histories, Freddy Garcia, Bartolo Colon, Matt Clement or Lieber. So those are some interesting guys right there.

I like Bedard, but to get him you guys would have to give up one of Homer Bailey or top prospect and minor league player of the year Jay Bruce, along with a package including other high end prospects. Baltimore is asking a big price.

I read some people in your guys organization rate Johnny Cueto almost as highly as they rate Homer, although I've never seen Cueto, I think Bailey is the real deal and wouldn't give him up.

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ya i dont believe wayne would give away many pieces to our future, although getting bedard is very enticing

No he wouldn't in most instances, although the thing about Bedard is he could still be very much apart of the future, he's young, proven and affordable. That's hard to find... I just think Baltimore is asking way too much for him, and I don't think the Reds are going to want to give up names like Bailey or Bruce at this stage.

There's a few guys on the free agent market worth taking a shot at.

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Anyone help me with any info or opinion on how the Cubbies are shaping up, will they be in the mix again come the playoffs?

Well, apparently the Cubs have landed Kosuke Fukudome, signing him to a 4 year deal for about 48 million.

I've only really seen this guy at the WBC, but he can rake, nice swing, great knowledge of the strike zone.

I've heard him compared to Bobby Abreu and Raul Ibanez several times.

The Cubs needed a left handed stick bad, and this definitely fills the that void. I guess he'll play right, with Soriano in left and Pie in center.

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With the Mitchell Report due out tomorrow (apparently), I wanted to get your guys thoughts on steroids in baseball...

My personal feeling is, look there was an obvious problem, and there's no doubt a select number of people are still doing, right now the cheaters are ahead of the testers, and that goes for all sports, not just baseball.

I don't want to underplay the significance of steroids in baseball, it's a huge problem, but I also feel that baseball is unfairly scrutinized while other sports are simply given a pass. This bothered me for sometime, and finally it occurred to me, baseball is held to a higher standard then any other sport in North America.

Baseball records and statistics mean more to people then in any other sport, and when these records (particularly the most important record in all time sports) are broken by people who think/know are using steroids, it just strikes a cord, unlike in any other sport.

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Astros went out and added Miguel Tejada.

Minute Maid Park, is perfect for Miguel's swing so expect him to have a huge bounce back year.

Astros paid a hefty price, sending back 5 players including Luke Scott, who I like.

Also young southpaw Troy Patton who is very highly regarded.

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