The Phillies exercise Jimmy Rollins' option for 2011

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It’s early to be doing this, but $8.5 million for Rollins is a really good deal, even if he’s not the player he was a couple of years ago. FanGraphs’ magic-player-value-contraption has him being worth north of $10 million in 2009, and that was probably his worst year since he became a regular, at least with the bat.

He’s likely to be better than that in 2010 and probably 2011 too, and he’s a popular team captain, so why not exercise the option now?

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.