Mark Mulder asked the Giants for a major-league contract

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Mark Mulder is 36 years old and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, but that isn’t stopping him from seeking a major-league contract in his comeback attempt.

San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean dropped that tidbit on reporters today while explaining why the Giants haven’t signed Mulder. Basically the Giants contacted Mulder to express interest, he told them he wants a big-league deal, and they said no thanks.

It’s awfully hard to imagine any team committing a 40-man roster spot and guaranteed money to a guy who hasn’t been healthy and effective in the same season since 2005.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.