Mark Cuban speaks about the Rangers auction

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Mark Cuban — as is his wont — took to his blog today to give a very long and very detailed explanation of his involvement in the Texas Rangers auction.  There’s a lot of play-by-play of how he got sucked into the whole crazy business. And it’s all very interesting, so you should definitely read it if, for no other reason than to realize that Cuban is a businessman and not a psycho.

But maybe the best parts come toward the end when he takes on two big criticisms he’s been getting lately: (a) that he would not be approved by Major League Baseball; and (b) that he was really only in the auction in order to bid-up the value of $2 million worth of Rangers bonds he happens to own:

Now lets talk about MLB.  It seems to be a fun media sport to talk
about how there is no way i will ever get approved  buy MLB to buy a
team.  At the hearing yesterday it was mentioned that our group only had
a 50/50 chance of ever being approved.  I tend to never look at the
glass as being half empty or half full. I look to see who is pouring the
water and to deal with them. Not the media.  I am pretty confident we
would have been approved.

Finally lets talk about finances. Lets talk about the bonds I own. I
have been getting a bunch of emails from reporters asking how much money
I made on the bonds I own. Suggesting that I bid up the price of the
Rangers in order to increase the value of the $2mm i spent on bonds. To
all of you I offer a lesson in economics.

It is NEVER a good idea to risk hundreds of millions of dollars on
the purchase of a team AND to spend what could come to more than a
$1million in professional fees in order to increase the value of the
$2mm you bought in bonds. I know its something for the media to talk
about. But if any of you out there think it through, I dont want you to
think i was stupid enough to do something that stupid.

The real reason he even bought those bonds, Cuban says, is so that he could be an insider and do some better due diligence on the Rangers when the notion of him buying the team first came up last year.

Seems plausible to me, as does most of what else he says.

The biggest takeaway here: Cuban was really in this for the opportunity
to create a regional sports network on which he could broadcast Rangers
and Mavericks games.  Contrary to the reputation he has in some quarters, that’s not nuts at all.  That’s really good business.

Cubs, Jake Arrieta avoid arbitration at $10.7 million

Jake Arrieta
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.

Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.

Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.

Giants sign Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal

Los Angeles Angels third baseman Conor Gillaspie is unable to hold on to the ball after catching a grounder hit by Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain in the fourth inning of a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.

Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.

The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.

Joe Nathan plans to pitch in 2016

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Joe Nathan throws against the Chicago White Sox in the ninth inning of a baseball game in Detroit Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”

Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.

Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.

The Rays are considering reliever Tyler Clippard

New York Mets pitcher Tyler Clippard throws during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.