Puck Showalter: O's Jones has hockey gig?

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Puck Showalter: O's Jones has hockey gig?

It's been more than two months since the Cubs took home the Commissioner's Trophy, and we've still got more than two months until Opening Day (not that we're counting, or anything). If you think you can't wait for baseball, just think of Adam Jones -- he can't even remember the last time he got to pull some shenanigans.

Luckily, though, the O's center fielder has found a way to pass the time: work as an off-ice official for the San Diego Gulls, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks. 

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Sale tries on new jersey for Red Sox fans

Sale tries on new jersey for Red Sox fans

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Wearing a Red Sox jersey for the first time and making his first public appearance on behalf of his new team, Chris Sale was greeted by a room full of roars from the roughly 2,500 fans gathered in the Grand Theater of Foxwoods Resort and Casino.

The event was the kickoff of the third annual Red Sox Winter Weekend, and Sale was the last player introduced on Friday, setting off a standing ovation.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Duquette

Ideal landing spots for top remaining FAs

Napoli a strong fit for return to Rangers

Ideal landing spots for top remaining FAs

With Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo now off the market, the focus now shifts to the remaining free agents still capable of significantly improving a team's roster before Spring Training.

Given Bautista was arguably the best offensive piece available, his return to the Blue Jays could have a ripple effect on the rest of the free-agent class.

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Jim Duquette, who was the Mets' GM in 2004, offers his opinions as a studio analyst and columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers to retire Pudge's uniform number

Rangers to retire Pudge's uniform number

DALLAS -- The Rangers have made it official: No. 7 is being retired.

The Rangers brought their 2017 Awards Banquet to an end on Friday night by announcing they are retiring Ivan Rodriguez's number this season. Former general manager Tom Grieve made the announcement at the end of the banquet, although the official ceremony won't be until August on a date to be determined.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989 and for MLB.com since 2006. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stars set to shine at BBWAA Dinner in NYC

Stars set to shine at BBWAA Dinner in NYC

NEW YORK -- Babe Ruth and the Yankees won their first World Series title in 1923, and another baseball tradition was born a few months later. The New York Baseball Writers' Association of America Dinner, for years known on the event's official scorecard as the "Eating and Oratorial Contest," was held for the first time, and Ruth and other luminaries in the sport would attend over the decades to receive awards, share stories, feast on sumptuous cuisine, sign autographs and bide the winter chill in Manhattan ballrooms.

It is a night of stars where you can find players and managers in tuxedos rather than caps and jerseys. It is where Willie Mays signed autographs "for kids only" at his table a couple of years ago. In 1965, it was where the same Say-Hey Kid, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider all appeared together for the last time. Mantle confessed to the crowd that night: "I've been asked the question many times over the years, all of us have, but I have to say right here and now: Willie was probably the best of us three ... just look at the stats."

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Team trends: Multiple players top leaderboards

Orioles' run of home run champs just one example of notable club streaks

Team trends: Multiple players top leaderboards

The Orioles officially re-signed Mark Trumbo on Friday, keeping the reigning MLB home run champ in Baltimore. The move continued the organization's commitment to power -- which has paid off with three postseason appearances since 2012 -- a commitment reflected on baseball's home run leaderboards. The Orioles have had not only the American League leader in home runs, but the Major League leader, for four consecutive seasons.

It's not a matter of one big bopper commandeering the spot, either. In the last three years, three different Orioles have claimed the home run title: Trumbo in 2016, Chris Davis in '15 and Nelson Cruz in '14. Davis, the lone repeat, started the run in 2013.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista likely to play for Dominican team

Bautista likely to play for Dominican team

The Dominican Republic has added even more muscle to its outfield, as star slugger Jose Bautista is expected to join the national squad for the World Baseball Classic in March, according to MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi.

The Blue Jays have not confirmed the report.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Padres finalize one-year deal with Cahill

San Diego designates Blash, but could retain him

Padres finalize one-year deal with Cahill

The Padres have agreed to a one-year deal for $1.75 million with right-hander Trevor Cahill.

Cahill, who turns 29 in March, posted a 2.74 ERA in 50 relief appearances (65 2/3 innings) for the Cubs last season, striking out 66 and walking 35. He did not pitch in the postseason as the Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908.

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Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Alyson Footer

Diana Ross belts out hits at Astros' Gala

Diana Ross belts out hits at Astros' Gala

HOUSTON -- Coming up in 2017, the Astros have a Spring Training ballpark to christen, a Hall of Famer to celebrate and a pennant to chase. But first, they had to wrap up the offseason, and they did so with a bang on Friday at Minute Maid Park, thanks in large part to a superstar diva, who brought with her an extensive library of legendary hits.

The Astros second annual "Diamond Dreams Gala" featured the supremely talented Diana Ross, who belted out nearly 20 of the greatest hits that defined her legendary career, first as a member of the Supremes in the 1960s and then as a solo artist in the decades that followed.

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Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stroman excited for '17, new Canada Day jerseys

Stroman excited for '17, new Canada Day jerseys

TORONTO -- Entering his fourth season with the Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman feels stronger than ever before, especially regarding his surgically repaired left knee. The right-hander has spent the offseason working with therapist Nikki Huffman, who joined the Blue Jays from Stroman's alma mater Duke University, at the team's facility in Florida.

"My knee is 100 percent now. It's stronger than it's ever been, so I'm excited for this year and I'm extremely confident, too," Stroman said on Friday. "Having a stronger landing leg is a big deal, so it's going to allow me to do a lot of things: velocity, go deeper into games, be more accurate. I take pride in my body and it's at a point now where I've taken huge strides this year."

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Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Korea poised to bounce back in '17 Classic

Korea poised to bounce back in '17 Classic

With South Korea's past success in the World Baseball Classic -- and after the success of former Korea Baseball Organization players in the Major Leagues over the last two years -- no one should be sleeping on Team South Korea in the upcoming Classic.

The Koreans did have an early exit from the 2013 tournament, but that should leave them even hungrier when they host Pool A against Chinese Taipei, the Netherlands and Israel. And with a roster mixing KBO talent and MLB talent, they could certainly make another deep run.

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Here's what it looks like when you learn you're headed to the Hall of Fame

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Here's what it looks like when you learn you're headed to the Hall of Fame

Few of us will ever know what it's like to play baseball professionally. Even fewer will know what it's like to reach the apex of that profession and make into a Major League game. And even fewer still -- 317, to be exact -- will know what it feels like to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

But we plebeians can get a little glimpse of what it feels like to learn you're going to be a Hall of Famer. All three members of the Class of 2017 were caught on camera at the exact moment they got the phone call informing them that they're headed to Cooperstown in July, and you can watch the emotions flow forth below.

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Orioles re-sign Trumbo to 3-year deal

Orioles re-sign Trumbo to 3-year deal

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' 2017 lineup got a whole lot better on Friday morning, as Baltimore made official the re-signing of outfielder Mark Trumbo to a three-year contract.

The move was a shrewd one for executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who gambled on waiting on Trumbo and his market, and the slugger who hit a Major League Baseball-best 47 homers last year will now return to the O's.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Zimmermann ready to put injuries behind him

Right-hander believes neck issue finally solved

Zimmermann ready to put injuries behind him

DETROIT -- Few Tigers on the team's Winter Caravan enjoy the winter quite like Jordan Zimmermann, who spends his offseasons at home in Wisconsin. And yet, few have more motivation to get to the warm sunshine of spring.

Nobody was more frustrated by Zimmermann's injury-plagued first season in Detroit than him, especially the way he dominated hitters during the opening month. No one was more motivated to finally figure out the reasons why he lost the velocity in his fastball, the explosiveness in his delivery and the general comfort in his mechanics.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers reportedly reach deal with Joba

Brewers reportedly reach deal with Joba

The Brewers and reliever Joba Chamberlain have agreed to a deal, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.

It isn't known yet whether the team has signed Chamberlain to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training or a Major League contract.

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Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers give Loney Minors deal, spring invite

Rangers give Loney Minors deal, spring invite

DALLAS -- The Rangers have signed first baseman James Loney to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, according to Major League sources. The club has not confirmed the deal.

The contract is not likely to handcuff the Rangers' ability to sign free-agent first baseman Mike Napoli if the two sides can reach an agreement on length and value of a deal.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rumor Roundup: Astros interested in Gray

Rumor Roundup: Astros interested in Gray

The Hot Stove season continues, and we're keeping you up to date with the latest free-agent news, trade buzz, rumors and more.

• Hot Stove Tracker

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Posnanski: Heritage shaped HOFer Pudge

Growing up idolizing Clemente inspired catcher to excel

Posnanski: Heritage shaped HOFer Pudge

Some years ago, I was in Manati, Puerto Rico, and I watched Carlos Beltran take batting practice on a high school field. In between pitches, he was trying to explain what it was like growing up as a baseball player in Puerto Rico.

"The first gift I got," Beltran said, "was a ball and a bat.

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Joe Posnanski is a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy Award-winning writer and has been awarded National Sportswriter of the Year. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yu focused on elbow, not contract

Yu focused on elbow, not contract

DALLAS -- Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish is approaching free agency, but he doesn't seem too worried about it.

"It's not about my contract," Darvish said at Friday's Texas Rangers Awards Dinner. "Coming back from Tommy John [surgery] for the second year, I want to see how my body reacts and how I do. ... Show what kind of pitcher I am."

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jon Paul Morosi

Altuve, Odor have Venezuela loaded at second

Altuve, Odor have Venezuela loaded at second

The Astros' Jose Altuve and the Rangers' Rougned Odor are among the best Venezuelan-born -- correction: Earth-born -- infielders in baseball today.

And they play the same position, which presents a quandary for Venezuelan manager Omar Vizquel ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

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Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tigers catcher James McCann tried out to be Michigan's quarterback next season

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Tigers catcher James McCann tried out to be Michigan's quarterback next season

The University of Michigan already has its quarterback for next season -- junior Wilton Speight led the Wolverines to the Orange Bowl in 2016 -- but that won't stop Tigers catcher James McCann from following his (offseason) dreams.

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2017 Prospect Watch: Top 10 First Basemen

Dodgers' Bellinger ranks first, Pirates' Bell, Mets' Smith follow once again

2017 Prospect Watch: Top 10 First Basemen

MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

No position in the big leagues places a greater premium on power than first base, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that MLBPipeline's list of the Top 10 first-base prospects is loaded with sluggers. Four of them have plus pop, led by Cody Bellinger's 65 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, and the rest all have average or better power. Meanwhile, the top four first basemen all ranked among the top six a year ago, while Bellinger and Casey Gillaspie leaped into the top half of the list.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

D-backs' Alcantara mashing in Dominican

D-backs' Alcantara mashing in Dominican

The Dominican Winter League finals began Thursday as Aguilas Cibaenas defeated Tigres del Licey, 4-3, in Game 1 of the best-of-nine series.

Despite going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the contest, Tigres shortstop Sergio Alcantara has been one of the circuit's hottest hitters in the postseason as well as a major reason his team has reached the finals. The D-backs' No. 28 prospect went 7-for-21 at the plate in six games last week to improve his playoff average to .339, the fourth-best mark in the league, while also tallying three runs scored, three RBIs and two steals.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Statcast reveals 2017 fantasy studs, duds

Believe in Freeman's breakout; beware Gregorius' power surge

Statcast reveals 2017 fantasy studs, duds

Statcast™ is quickly becoming a fantasy owner's best friend.

With owners looking for an edge over the competition, Statcast™ offers an additional source of data to evaluate players for the coming campaign. Before finalizing their 2017 rankings, wise owners will closely examine the Statcast™ data on the following 10 hitters.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Closer, bench decisions imminent for Nats

Closer, bench decisions imminent for Nats

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals boast a strong team that is likely to defend its National League East title, but with less than a month to go before Spring Training, they are interested in making more moves.

Washington has already had a busy offseason, acquiring Adam Eaton as its new center fielder and Derek Norris as its new catcher and paving the way for Trea Turner to take over as the everyday shortstop. The Nats have not made any roster moves in over a month, but they still have a few potential options.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beltre likes Rangers squad, wouldn't mind more

With free agents available, veteran likes idea of club signing another big bat

Beltre likes Rangers squad, wouldn't mind more

DALLAS -- Adrian Beltre said he likes the team the Rangers have right now.

"I'm ready to go to war with this team," Beltre said at the Texas Rangers Awards Banquet on Friday night.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Crystal Hall: A look at the HOF's next 4 years

Which players are next to be inducted into Cooperstown?

Crystal Hall: A look at the HOF's next 4 years

We've got Chipper Jones penciled in for Cooperstown in 2018, and Mariano Rivera in '19. If you appreciate the greatness these two men represent, their Hall of Fame induction weekends may just send a chill down your spine.

And then, there's Derek Jeter in 2020. Can you imagine what a celebration that will be? Even Red Sox fans may be compelled to offer a tip of the hat to Jeter's 20 years in the Major Leagues.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Enjoy National Cheese Lovers Day the MLB way

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Enjoy National Cheese Lovers Day the MLB way

There are but a few iron-clad truisms in this life. First: No matter where it's located, every structure will eventually be struck by a Giancarlo Stanton dinger. Second: You will never see Iggy Iguana coming. And, of course, the grand unifying theory of the universe: Literally everything is better if you put a bunch of cheese on it.

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Listen to Prairie Home Companion's 'We, Joe Maddon'

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Listen to Prairie Home Companion's 'We, Joe Maddon'

The Cubs already have a pretty popular anthem. You may have heard of it? It's called "Go Cubs Go," and it only reached the Billboard charts for the first time this fall and was even performed on "Saturday Night Live," with Anthony Rizzo, David Ross, Dexter Fowler and Bill Murray lending their vocal abilities to the song. 

The classic NPR show, "Prarie Home Companion," added a new anthem to the mix in this week's episode with "We, Joe Maddon."

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Avila: 'Keep this club together moving forward'

Avila: 'Keep this club together moving forward'

DETROIT -- Give this to Tigers general manager Al Avila: He doesn't aim to deceive.

When Avila and his front office embarked on an offseason plan to explore trades for some of their veterans, he not only made his intentions public to the media, he also made his intentions clear to the players.

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Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.