Odds & Ends: Kouzmanoff, Taguchi, Draft

Some links on this frosty Saturday night…

  • Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic spoke to Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes, who took full responsibility for Eric Byrnes' three-year, $30MM contract.  Arizona designated Byrnes for assignment on Friday.
  • The Rays have four remaining arbitration-eligible players in Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, J.P. Howell, and B.J. Upton.  The club will stick with their policy of cutting off negotiations after exchanging figures, which happens at noon on Tuesday, writes Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  Tampa Bay does this to try to bring about a settlement and to avoid settling at an artificial midpoint between the two figures.
  • Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com isn't terribly upset that the O's weren't the club to land Kevin Kouzmanoff.  Kubatko understands frustrations over the Orioles' lack of production at third, but notes that the 28-year-old's offensive production was nothing to write home about in 2009.  Kouzmanoff hit .255/.302/.420 with 18 HRs for the Padres last season.
  • As we heard earlier today, a committee is being formed to work on changes to the amateur draft.  The committee will look into making the draft worldwide and instituting a slotting system.  Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues doesn't see any changes being made until after 2011, when the collective bargaining agreement expires.
  • The Orix Buffaloes are close to signing So Taguchi, according to a report from Sponichi passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (via Twitter).  The 40-year-old emerged with the Cubs at the end of last season, making 12 plate appearances in six games.

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