On this day last year, the Rangers traded Frank Francisco and cash considerations to the Blue Jays for Mike Napoli. Toronto pulled the trigger on the swap just four days after acquiring Napoli from the Halos. Here's a look at tonight's links..
- The Braves have set a player payroll budget of $94MM for this year, leaving them with several million dollars still to spend, chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk told Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McGuirk also said that Liberty Media has expressed no intention of selling the club in the near future. Also of note is that the club is locked into a 25-year local TV deal that will prevent the franchise from cashing in on MLB’s trend toward higher telecast rights fees.
- The Rangers' bid for Prince Fielder was much shorter than nine years, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
- The Reds are probably done handing out big league deals this offseason, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Earlier tonight, the club reached agreement on a minor league deal with Jeff Francis.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (via Twitter) ranked Yoenis Cespedes' most probable destinations in the following order: Cubs, Marlins, Orioles, and White Sox.
- Peter Ueberroth says he's heard from several groups bidding on the Dodgers but rebuffed them all, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).
- C. Trent Rosecrans of CBSSports.com examined what's left on the open market.
- Free agent Raul Ibanez believes that a three-day session that he had in December with Cubs hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo will be key to a bounce back season in 2012. Last season, Ibanez hit .245/.289/.419 in 575 plate appearances for the Phillies.
- Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is zeroed in on improving the club's on-base percentage this winter, writes Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun.
- Rival executives applaud Fielder for signing on with a winning club rather than signing with a struggling club just for the money, Heyman tweets.