<span class="vcard">Matthew Pouliot</span>

John McGrath

Sorry, misplaced anger, feel free to move along

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Ummm… nevermind. While McGrath’s column made it sound like Mattingly and Murphy were his only choices, he states in the comments that he actually submitted a 10-man ballot.

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Taking the Hall of Upstanding Citizens standard to a new plateau is the Tacoma News Tribune’s John McGrath. Faced with the burden of being a guardian to Cooperstown, he submitted a two-man Hall of Fame ballot of Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy.

Of course, he spends most of his column writing about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa and never provides any sort of reasoning for why Mattingly and Murphy, two of the ballots weakest holdovers, are more deserving than contemporaries Fred McGriff, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell, not to mention a local favorite like Edgar Martinez.

Well, maybe there’s some reasoning:

I’m prepared to select as many as 10 players on my ballot whose achievements did not mock the notion of integrity, sportsmanship and character. The headache is part of the bargain. It won’t kill me.

You read it here first: Edgar Martinez, mocker of integrity. And that elbow pad Craig Biggio wore wasn’t very sporting at all. As for character? Well, Larry Walker had none of that.
Just do us all a favor and tear up your ballot next time, John. It’s obviously nothing more to you than an excuse for a cheap column.

Twins set to sign Mike Pelfrey for $4 million

Mike Pelfrey
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CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Twins and Mike Pelfrey have come to terms on a one-year deal worth $4 million.

The deal includes $1.5 million in incentives for the rehabbing right-hander.

The soon-to-be 29-year-old Pelfrey had a 2.29 ERA in three starts for the Mets last season before undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA in 2010, but he slipped to 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 2011. The Mets non-tendered him earlier this month rather than pay him $5 million-$6 million in arbitration.

Once healthy, Pelfrey will join fellow National League imports Vance Worley and Kevin Correia in a rotation that has just one sure returnee in Scott Diamond. The Twins could also add one more veteran to compete with holdovers Nick Blackburn, Liam Hendriks and Cole De Vries for an opening.

The gamble on Pelfrey is interesting, considering that the Twins let the similarly positioned Scott Baker go to the Cubs in free agency earlier this winter. Baker, likewise rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, signed for $5.5 million, plus incentives. And unlike Pelfrey, Baker has already proven he can cut it in the AL. The Twins got burnt last year by Jason Marquis, who had no AL experience and was roasted to the turn of an 8.47 ERA in seven starts before earning his release.

Phillies and Mike Adams agree to two-year, $12 million contract

Mike Adams
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UPDATE: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies and Mike Adams have agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract, pending a physical. The deal includes a vesting option for 2015.

1:54 AM: Mike Adams won’t get a chance to close after finding himself in free agency for the first time, but he will get closer-type money to set up for Jonathan Papelbon in Philadelphia.

According to Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown, the Phillies and Adams are close to a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2015. Citing family sources, KRIS-TV reported earlier that it’d be a three-year, $18 million pact, and while that doesn’t seem quite correct, the dollars are probably about right.

Adams, long one of the game’s best setup men, had a 3.27 ERA in 61 appearances for the Rangers last season. He allowed just one homer all year until his last appearance, when he gave up three, and then he was shut down the next day because of thoracic outlet syndrome. The condition required surgery, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training.

Having Adams available to work the eighth will take some pressure off young Phillies relievers such as Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman. With Adams likely making $6 million per year and Papelbon earning $12.5 million, the Phillies will have one of the game’s most expensive bullpens. Fortunately, they’ll make up for it by having one of the cheapest outfields after trading Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino last summer and acquiring Ben Revere to take over in center.

How the Diamondbacks went from Trevor Bauer to Didi Gregorius

Trevor Bauer
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The Diamondbacks and GM Kevin Towers knew all about Trevor Bauer’s odd delivery and unusual throwing program when they made him the third overall pick in the 2011 draft. If they had questions about him then, they overlooked them in order to get one of the top talents on the board.

Now, a year and a half later, he’s gone, essentially traded for a middle infielder who has hit .271/.323/.376 in five minor league seasons. Didi Gregorius is the Diamondbacks’ new hope at shortstop, replacing the old hope of Bauer at the top of the rotation.

Gregorius, for what it’s worth, signed with the Reds for $50,000 out of Curacao in 2007. Bauer got a $3.45 million bonus and a four-year, $4.45 million contract upon joining the Diamondbacks last year.

Not only is that money gone, but the Diamondbacks passed on such talents as the Orioles’ Dylan Bundy, the Nationals’ Anthony Rendon and the Indians’ Francisco Lindor to draft Bauer. It’s safe to say that Gregorius wouldn’t have been of much interest if they had taken Lindor, now one of the game’s best shortstop prospects.

That the Diamondbacks’ relationship with Bauer had soured was obvious. The two parties disagreed about his throwing program. Whispers about attitude problems had become pervasive. Some of Bauer’s tweets also rubbed people the wrong way.

It’s all stuff that likely would have been overlooked had Bauer seemed well on his way to becoming an ace. However, fluctuating velocity and spotty fastball command had damaged his stock to some disagree.

Regardless, I still think trading Bauer, Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw in exchange for Gregorius, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson was a lousy idea for the Diamondbacks. But nor do I imagine Towers picked it over a bunch of superior offers; the fact is that everyone knew that Bauer was out there and no team seemed all that eager to take the plunge.

The big concern I have is the way the Diamondbacks are bleeding talent. I’ve liked their two biggest free agent additions to date (Brandon McCarthy and Eric Chavez), but trading Chris Young for a now obsolete Cliff Pennington and an overpriced reliever in Heath Bell was a net loss, as is this latest deal. Towers also traded a semi-intriguing corner infielder in Ryan Wheeler for  a generic left-handed reliever in Matt Reynolds. In an effort to fill gaps now, Towers has increased the likelihood that there will be bigger holes in the future.

Report: Kevin Youkilis takes $12 million from Yankees

White Sox Youkilis celebrates game-winning single in MLB American League baseball game against Rangers in Chicago
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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal says Kevin Youkilis will be decked out in pinstripes and goatee-less next season.

According to Rosenthal, the Yankees and Youkilis have agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract that would put the long time Red Sox infielder at third base until Alex Rodriguez returns from hip surgery in June or July.

Youkilis had the option of taking a paycut and a multiyear deal from the Indians before they signed Mark Reynolds, but the combination of playing for a surefire contender and matching last year’s salary apparently appealed to him more than playing in his home state and reuniting with Terry Francona.

The addition of Youkilis gives the Yankees the right-handed bat they desired with Rodriguez out. The two players could alternate between third base and DH once A-Rod returns.

Youkilis hit .235/.336/.409 with 19 homers and 60 RBI for the Red Sox and White Sox last season. He’s a lifetime .233/.337/.397 hitter with four homers in 73 at-bats at new Yankee Stadium.