Craig Calcaterra

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Dodgers nearing a deal with Yaisel Sierra


No, not Y-A-S-I-E-L. That’s Puig. This Cuban free agent is Y-A-I-S-E-L. Sierra. And according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo, the Dodgers will soon have him as well. Passan says that the deal is believed to be for around $30 million and would cover six or seven years.

Sierra, 25, is a righty who impressed a group of scouts and baseball officials during an October workout in Florida. While his numbers in Cuba were not eye-popping during his five series in Serie Nacional, Jesse Sanchez of has reported that he didn’t throw his full repertoire of pitches in Cuba and has only recently began to show people that he has a good slider and a changeup.

The Dodgers were disappointed to have lost Zack Greinke to the Diamondbacks in free agency, but they have since done a heck of a lot to build their rotation depth, and will have a good six or seven starting pitching options in the fold this year.

Pat Gillick back with the Phillies as an advisor, other front office shuffling announced


Pat Gillick built the Phillies into a winner in the mid-2000s, left, came back to try to fix the mess Ruben Amaro created and then stepped aside at the end of last season to make way for Andy MacPhail. Here’s hoping he didn’t pack up all of his office knickknacks, because he’s coming back.

The Phillies announced yesterday that Gillick is coming back as a senior advisor. In addition — and likely more significantly for the long term — former Baltimore Orioles director of major league administration Ned Rice was named an assistant general manager, former baseball analytics manager Scott Freedman — who for years worked as a labor liaison for Major League Baseball — was promoted to director of baseball operations and former analytics intern Lewis Pollis’ was made a full-time analyst.

It wasn’t long ago that the Phillies were the butt of jokes about their old-school front office approach. Filling analytics roles with smart people, hiring folks from strong organizations and making sure their Hall of Fame father figure stays in the fold despite all of the new blood coming — along with the many smart, under-the-radar moves they’ve made in the course of their rebuild — puts that old mindset about the Phillies to lie.

David Bowie followed Nick Swisher on Twitter for some reason

Nick Swisher

It’s been a very slow news day, baseball-wise. And I’ll be honest, I spent most of the day listening to David Bowie music and reading David Bowie remembrances. Haven’t you?

Oh, like a lot of people in the content-creation business, I spent a few minutes lamely searching for some vague connection between Bowie and my area of content-creation. That’s what we do. I found nothing other than baseball-style David Bowie t-shirts, and even I’m not that desperate to stretch that into a post. The only person I saw make an actual legitimate Bowie connection to baseball was Dave Brown over at CBS who found out that the Yankees and Bowie were business partners during the early medieval period of the Internet age. That much was interesting.

Then, a few moments ago, when I was getting ready to sign off for the day, I saw someone mention David Bowie’s Twitter account and his random assortment of follows. So I went and had a look at who the Thin White Duke followed.

It was mostly the usual suspects. Artists. Record labels. Former collaborators. Respectable news sites, actors and celebrities. Oh, and this guy, in the top row, middle:

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.45.28 PM

“It’s on America’s tortured brow that Mickey Mouse has grown up a cow. Now the workers have struck for fame. ‘Cause Swisher’s health-y again.”

RIP, Ziggy. Good luck in 2016, Bro.