Quick Hits: Darvish, Simon, Kenny Williams, Rays

Happy birthday to Brian Duensing (28), Kelly Johnson (29), Casey Kotchman (28), Daniel Nava (28), J.J. Putz (34), Don Wakamatsu (48) and Hall-of-Fame manager Sparky Anderson, who would've turned 77 years old today.

Onto some news from around the majors…

  • ESPN's Keith Law expects the Blue Jays to be "serious bidders" for Yu Darvish. (Twitter link)  The Japanese star says he wants to pitch in the Major Leagues in 2012, and at least nine teams besides Toronto are known to have interest.
  • Prosecutor Victor Mueses tells ESPNDeportes' Enrique Rojas that there are no plans to drop pending manslaughter charges against Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon.  It was reported over the weekend that Simon was expected to be released soon, but "nothing has happened to make us change our position," Mueses says.  Rojas also reports that Simon has agreed to pay $70K to the families of the victims of the New Year's Eve shooting in order to have the charges dropped, but Mueses says that such an agreement wouldn't impact his office's case.
  • White Sox GM Kenny Williams criticized baseball's financial structure yesterday and told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune today that he was even uncomfortable with his own team's $125MM payroll.  "We're out on a limb.  But that's our choice.  We made the choice in an effort to give our fans hope and give ourselves a chance to compete for a championship," Williams said.  "If things don't go our way, if we don't get the support, we'll lose money.  We're going to lose money but we've gone into this knowing how long can you do that, how much can you absorb?"
  • "The Rays’ bullpen figures to be a season-long work in progress," writes FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.  Tampa Bay lost almost its entire bullpen to free agency, and Andrew Friedman admitted the club was "kind of freaking out about it" in January.  Rosenthal says the Rays will look at relievers cut by teams at the end of Spring Training, and they will also continue to consider possible trades.  
  • When might some of the Indians' young stars reach the majors?  Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer weighs in on when Tribe fans can see the likes of Lonnie Chisenhall at Progressive Field.

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