Happy birthday to Astros manager Brad Mills, who was born 54 years ago today in Exeter, California. Here are some news items to help the 'Stros skipper celebrate his big day…
- Justin Duchscherer recently held private workout sessions for two American League clubs, tweets ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick. The Yankees, known to be interested in the right-hander, weren't one of the two teams. The Pirates, Red Sox and Athletics (Duchscherer's former club) have all expressed some degree of interest in the free agent hurler this winter.
- As part of an mailbag piece, MLB.com's Lyle Spencer discusses the Angels' search for a leadoff hitter and notes that "it doesn't appear that the Angels are in play" for Johnny Damon. Spencer also raises the point that if there actually is a rift between the Halos and Scott Boras, signing Damon could be an important olive branch between the club and the agent, esepcially given that Kendry Morales and Jered Weaver are both Boras clients.
- Did the Cubs really need to trade Tom Gorzelanny? ESPN.com's Justin Havens asks this question and points out that Gorzelanny and Matt Garza had surprisingly similar 2010 seasons.
- Sean Marshall's two-year contract is examined by Jack Moore of Fangraphs, who compares it to Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes' recent deals with the Athletics. While Moore thinks the Cubs should probably have not made a multi-year commitment to Marshall, "if a team is going to go multiple years with a reliever, better to do so with young, arbitration eligibles like Marshall than veterans like Balfour and Fuentes."
- MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez looks at how various teams filled the holes left behind by departing free agents this winter.