East Notes: Millwood, Bartlett, Manuel, Jenks

Pitchers and catchers are reporting in Arizona and Florida, but up in the northeast, it doesn't feel like spring has arrived quite yet. Here are a few AL and NL East-related links while we wait for the snow to melt….

  • Although the Yankees and Kevin Millwood are still talking, they have "a ways to go," tweets SI.com's Jon Heyman. Yesterday, nearly 43% of over 6,300 MLBTR readers voted that Millwood would eventually sign with the Yanks.
  • The Rays were close to sending Jason Bartlett to San Francisco before they worked out a trade with another NL West club, Giants GM Brian Sabean tells Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.
  • John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders why it's taking so long for the Phillies and Charlie Manuel to work out a contract extension.
  • The Red Sox topped baseball's list of spenders this offseason, as ESPN.com's Katie Sharp writes. Since the turn of the century, the piece notes, only the 2009 Yankees have won a World Series after having outspent the rest of the league the previous winter.
  • Bobby Jenks spoke to the media in Fort Myers today, discussing his decision to sign with the Red Sox. The right-hander said he had offers elsewhere to close, but wanted to play in Boston, adding that he knows his role as a setup man and "didn’t come here to step on anybody’s toes." Alex Speier of WEEI.com has those quotes and more from Jenks.
  • Mike Puma of the New York Post and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun each pose 10 questions that could shape the Mets' and Orioles' seasons, respectively. In addition to discussing how new arrivals will fit in, each article addresses the back of the bullpen. Will the Mets let Francisco Rodriguez finish 55 games to trigger his 2012 option? And will it be Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Mike Gonzalez, or someone else closing in Baltimore?
  • For updates all year long on the closing situations in Boston, New York, Baltimore, and everywhere else, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter. A great resource for fantasy players, @closernews will keep tabs on injuries, ineffectiveness, overuse, and anything else that could affect which relievers are getting save opps.

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