With the Christmas holiday firmly in the rearview mirror, it's time for the rumor mill to start churning again ...
- Oh, goody-goody gumdrops: the Justin Upton trade rumor watch is back. After falling back into a deep slumber following the Rangers' unsuccessful efforts to land the 25-year-old outfielder, the rumors are going to start popping up again. Jon Heyman believes Upton could be back in play for teams approaching the Diamondbacks about an outfielder after the Cody Ross signing. It still seems far more likely that Jason Kubel or Gerardo Parra are dealt, but everyone loves them a good Upton rumor. Prepare yourself.
- Speaking of rumors, the Red Sox and Mike Napoli are engaging in a bit of a public dance. After agreeing to terms on a three-year, $39 million deal at the Winter Meetings, the two sides ran into a hang up, reportedly, about Napoli's hip. Presumably, the Red Sox then sought to renegotiate the deal or at least insert some protective language, and we've heard very little since. But now, suddenly, we hear that the Red Sox are still in communications with free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche (who would make sense for the Red Sox only in the absence of Napoli), and Napoli is in communications with another team. It seems each side is trying to publicly emphasize that they have other options.
- Former long-time Yankee Hideki Matsui has officially retired. He spent 20 years playing professional ball, split half and half between Japan and the States.
- Jayson Stark's strange but true feats from the 2012 MLB season - it's a great read, but a long one. That 17-inning Red Sox/Orioles game that featured Chris Davis as the winning pitcher (after striking out five times and grounding into a double play) still takes the cake for me.
- Maury Brown has the nitty gritty of MLB's upcoming new television deals, which more than double the take coming to MLB teams.
- Joe Sheehan offers his early predictions for the 2013 season. Probably a good one: "'...in the AL East' - That phrase gets retired, as after a decade of hegemony, age and questionable management push the Yankees and Red Sox down the totem pole and bring the game's toughest division back to the pack. It's still a strong group, but no longer clearly the best in the game - the NL East, AL West and NL West all vie for the title. The 2013 postseason is the first since 1993 with neither of the AL East's scary monsters involved."
- Chipper Jones, in his post-playing life, is just like us. He makes oopsies, and then publishes them for the world to see.