It's hard to top January 31 when it comes to notable baseball birthdays. Three of the game's biggest legends were born on this day: Nolan Ryan (celebrating his 66th birthday), "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks (his 82nd) and the late Jackie Robinson, who was born in 1919 in Cairo, Georgia. Here are some news items from around the majors as we head into February…
- The Tigers have "mild interest" in Cuban shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz, George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press reports. At least ten teams (including the Cardinals, Twins and Athletics) are known to be interested in Diaz, though Major League Baseball is is investigating whether Diaz is younger than his alleged age of 23 years old.
- Also from Sipple, it seems as if the Tigers will keep Jhonny Peralta, despite some trade rumors surrounding the shortstop this winter.
- The Orioles watched left-hander Arthur Rhodes throw today at Camden Yards, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports (Twitter link). The 43-year-old Rhodes didn't pitch in 2012 but is looking to continue his 20-year Major League career. Rhodes was drafted by the O's in 1988, played for the team from 1991-99 and currently lives in Baltimore.
- The Orioles also recently worked out utilityman Fernando Tatis, Connolly tweets. Tatis hasn't played in the majors since 2010 when he made 72 plate appearances for the Mets before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Tatis, 38, played for the Orioles in 2006 and has also suited up for the Mets, Expos, Cardinals and Rangers during his 11-year career.
- The Dodgers could be looking to trade from its starting pitching depth, but Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times suggests the team should hang onto all eight starters given how many of them are battling injury problems.
- The Dodgers' free-spending ways could come back to haunt them later in the decade, ESPN's Dan Szymborski writes (Insider subscription required). It also puts pressure on the team to win sooner rather than later: "A disappointing year or two, and it wouldn't be shocking if the biggest member of the [ownership] consortium started to find the guaranteed cash from the TV contract a lot more appealing than playing high-stakes fantasy baseball."
- ESPN Chicago's Jon Greenberg talks to sabermetrician Tom Tango, who has worked as a consultant to several teams but is now working exclusively for the Cubs.
- MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Braves, the Rays, Shaun Marcum and Alex Rodriguez on the latest edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast.