oswalt wide getty

UPDATE: No deal yet between Cardinals and Roy Oswalt

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UPDATE: Oswalt’s agent, Bob Garber, told Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors this morning that there’s “no chance” of his client pitching out of the bullpen.

8:31 AM: Hold your horses, everyone. When most of us went to bed, it appeared as though Roy Oswalt was St. Louis-bound. That may still be the case, but Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com has backtracked a bit from his previous report. He calls a deal likely to happen “soon” and was told by a source that it’s “not 100 percent” yet.

Meanwhile, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are insisting that no deal is in place with Oswalt. Any deal would be contingent upon a physical and the veteran right-hander has a history of back problems, so it’s possible some formalities are standing in the way of an official agreement. For now, we wait.

1:09 AM: Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reports that Roy Oswalt is headed to the Cardinals. No word yet on the terms of the contract.

8:36 PM, Friday: Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports that the Cardinals and Roy Oswalt are close to agreeing on a contract. Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald confirms Duquette’s report, but adds that the process may take “another day or two.”

No word on the specific terms being discussed, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported earlier this week that the Cardinals made an offer to Oswalt a few weeks ago “approaching $5 million.” Strauss didn’t think that would be enough to get it done and even pegged the Rangers as the favorites.

As for Duquette, he hears that the Red Sox, Astros and Rangers remain in the mix. The Astros are a bit of a head-scratcher given that they haven’t been mentioned until this point and aren’t anywhere close to contending, but perhaps Oswalt gave some thought to going back to where it all started.

Of course, the interesting part of a potential match with the Cardinals is that they already have five starters and Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook have full no-trade clauses in their respective contracts. By the way, Lohse will make $11.57 million in 2012 while Westbrook is owed $8.5 million this season and a $1 million buyout on his $8.5 million mutual option for 2013. Oswalt has the potential to make them better, obviously, but that could be a messy situation.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Associated Press
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?