The Marlins have made their final offer to Pujols

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Closing time: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Marlins have made their final offer to Albert Pujols.  There is a the prospect of an additional meeting, but if no other offer comes out of it, you’d have to think that Pujols and his agent will accept the Cards’ substantially similar offer to stay in town.

Three years at the Winter Meetings and no single player or story has dominated like this one has.  If Pujols signs today we’re gonna all have to find something to do.

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.