Another round of links for the afternoon…
- The Cards were surprised to hear that Albert Pujols isn't thinking about a contract extension, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- The Cubs have now asked the Rangers for permission to speak with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- First overall pick Stephen Strasburg makes his AFL debut tonight, according to the AP (via ESPN).
- Earlier in the week, the New York Post reported that Billy Wagner was leaning towards retirement. Wagner's agent, Bean Stringfellow, told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports this week that Wagner plans on playing next year.
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says there's no question: the Red Sox will enter Spring Training with at least five starters. Even if they pick up Tim Wakefield's option, as expected, they will likely add another arm.
- The Brewers sent cash to the Reds to complete the David Weathers trade, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
- Bobby Valentine side-stepped questions about the Marlins on 790 The Ticket this morning, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
- USA Today's Bob Nightengale says (via Twitter) that it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Padres hire Jed Hoyer or Jerry DiPoto to be the team's next GM.