I must apologize for the lack of updates about every other team's bunt tournament...
- New Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has always been direct, fun-loving, and outspoken. So, it probably shouldn't be much of a surprise that he's already needling his team's rival. When asked about New York Yankees' shortstop Derek Jeter's famous "flip" play in the 2001 ALDS against the Athletics, Valentine took his shot. "We'll never practice that," Valentine said. "And I think [Jeter] was out of position and I think the ball gets [Jeremy Giambi] out if he doesn't touch it, personally." Oh, Bobby. That's certain to get Yankees fans riled up, and Red Sox fans excited. (But, like, come on - there is no way Giambi is out unless Jeter flashes out of nowhere into the play, cuts the ball off, and flips it backhanded to Jorge Posada. You know how I know? Even though the play was right in front of him, Giambi never even thought about sliding.
- The Ryan Braun story continues to evolve into a soap opera. After Braun suggested that the "collector" may have tampered with his sample (something that reports say Braun did not argue during his appeal), the "collector" naturally felt compelled to defend himself. In a statement, Dino Laurenzi Jr. explained the events that led to him waiting to deliver Braun's sample to FedEx until Monday (which sounded plausible), and said that he followed all of the same procedures he's ever followed in his seven years of collecting for MLB. Jon Morosi thinks Braun painted himself into a corner with his unnecessary comments about the "collector," in part because - as this Bullet indicates - it simply dragged out an unflattering story.
- The San Diego Padres are hoping that Andrew Cashner, acquired this offseason in a deal that sent first base prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs, can be the team's primary 8th inning pitcher this season. Cashner, 25, started just one game last year for the Cubs, during which he suffered a strained rotator cuff. Cashner rehabbed for most of the season (including following an aggravation of the injury), before pitching in relief late in the year and in the Arizona Fall League.
- The St. Louis Cardinals are expected soon to extend catcher Yadier Molina, who would be a free agent after this season, to a five-year deal worth between $70 and $75 million. Molina, who turns 30 this year, would be under team control until he's 35, and paid like a superstar. But, until 2011, Molina hadn't yet had an above-average offensive year (his 126 OPS+ was something of an anomaly - before that, his career high was an even 100, and his career mark was just 82). The Cards could hardly afford to lose another critical piece like Molina, but it's fair to wonder whether they're overpaying.
- FanGraphs' Dave Cameron concludes that the extension might not be much of an overpay at all, depending on how one values catcher defense (an exceedingly imprecise exercise at this time). That, of course, is the rub. Molina has won four straight Gold Gloves, so, at least subjectively, he's viewed as among the best of the best defensively. How much is that worth in a catcher?
- The Houston Astros are converting Brett Myers back into a closer. They must want to give him *plenty* of rest.