Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3

UPDATE: Pettitte still undecided about pitching in 2011

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9:34 PM: Scratch that.  Chad Jennings of The Journal News spoke with Cashman just moments ago and the general manager said that he was misquoted.  Pettitte is still in decision mode for 2011 and the Yankees have heard nothing new.

9:02 PM: The Yankees are going to be just fine, let’s get that out of the way.  They still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball from top to bottom and will be battling for the American League East crown this season despite a winter of letdowns.

But here comes another bit of bad news…

According to the New York Daily News, veteran southpaw Andy Pettitte told Yankees GM Brian Cashman on Wednesday that he will not be playing baseball when the 2011 season opens in late March and that he can’t say for sure if he will return at all.

“I don’t think he’s determined if he’s officially finished or not, but he’s chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011,” Cashman said Wednesday at the baseball owners’ meetings in Arizona. “If that ever changes he’ll call us. We’re not going to hound him or bother him.”

The Yankees missed out on top free agent target Cliff Lee this offseason and didn’t get the chance to bid on a host of other free agent pitchers because they had so much money committed to that offer.  Carl Pavano is still unsigned, but the Yanks probably don’t want to dance that jig for a second time.  Justin Duchscherer is another option, but there’s no guarantee that he can stay healthy.

The Bombers might just have to stick to internal candidates like Ivan Nova and Andrew Brackman in order to fill out their rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.