White Sox may have interest in Diamondbacks’ Jason Kubel

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The Diamondbacks signed Cody Ross to a three-year, $26 million free agent contract on Saturday afternoon and now have to trade an outfielder to free up enough playing time for him. Justin Upton is apparently still on the block, but it could be Jason Kubel who ultimately winds up packing his bags.

CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler reports that the White Sox “have talked about” Kubel, who slugged 30 home runs alongside an .833 OPS for Arizona in 2012.

The 30-year-old signed a two-year, $15 million contract last offseason. He’s owed $7.5 million in 2013 and carries a $7.5 million club option for 2014.

If Kubel is indeed dealt, the D’Backs would start Ross in left, Upton in right and Adam Eaton in center.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?