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The winter meetings started yesterday and John Gibbons and AA met the media to answer some questions.

Elsewhere the Red Sox added Mike Napoli.  Angel Pagan stayed with the Giants.  Rafael Soriano is rumoured to be close to signing with the Rangers.  And A-Rod will have hip surgery in January and will miss four to six months.

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The Toronto branch of the BBWAA held a meeting today and AA and Paul Besston joined the writers to answer questions. Gregor Chisholm at MLB.Com has posted a full transcript at his blog. AA discussed the roster in light of the winter meetings next week.
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Here comes $165,000,000 worth of fish!

Commissioner Bud says that this deal "represents the exercise of plausible baseball judgment on the part of both Clubs, does not violate any express rule of Major League Baseball," such as public exhibition or unauthorized reproduction. Wait, are there other express rules?

The Blue Jays have agreed to sign Melky Cabrera to a two year $16M deal according to ESPN.  Cabrera is coming off two very good seasons and a 50 game drug suspension.  The key question is...what kind of Melky are the Jays getting?
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Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting the Blue Jays have completed a mega-deal with the Miami Marlins.  Right-hander Josh Johnson, lefty Mark Buehrle and shortstop Jose Reyes are heading to Toronto.  Going the other way are righty Henderson Alvarez, shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria and minor league lefty Justin Nicolino, one of the "Big Three" pitching prospects in the minor league system.

Update:  There is more to the deal.  Former Jays catcher John Buck and infielder Emilio Bonifacio are coming to Toronto.  Jays pitching prospect Marcus Stroman says minor league outfielder Jake Marisnick is also heading to the Fish. 

Update 2: Catcher Jeff Mathis and minor league pitcher Anthony DeSclafani are also Marlins.

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The semi-official award season kicked off Monday with the naming of the two rookies of the year. The timing of the award announcements has changed this season. Previously awards were announced over a two week period at 2pm. This year the Baseball Writers Association has linked with the MLB Network to have an award show at 6pm. The award winners for both leagues are announced on the same day.
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The Blue Jays need a manager but if they are conducting a search you would never know it.  There have been many names mentioned as potential managers.  There have been suggestions that the Jays have asked permission to talk to coaches from other teams.  But there has been no confirmation that the Jays have actually interviewed anyone.

John Farrell left the Jays employ a few weeks ago, and it would have been obvious that he was going at least a few weeks prior to that.  The Jays therefore have had a lot of time to consider how and where to find a new manager.  So what explains the inactivity?

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The deadline for signing free agents to new teams passes at midnight tonight.  While free agents can sign tomorrow, generally they don't but some do try and sign before the winter meetings in a month.  However this year is different and with the new CBA some of the timelines have changed.  This could speed up the signing of free agents as some of the uncertainty around draft compensation and options has been either removed or advanced in the calendar.  It will be interesting to see if free agents sign any faster this year.  Today is also the last day that clubs have the exclusive right to talk to their own free agents.  But if you believe there are not back conversations taking place with player agents you are perhaps naive.

This year is also the last year of the old TV deal.  A new national US TV deal kicks in next season and that increases the revenue for all teams.  With only 25 or so guys to give the money to, will we see salary numbers that shcok this off-season?  I think we might.  Also the Dodgers and the Cubs have new owners with big wallets.

The Jays have made a trade, see the bottom of the article for details

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The Giants swept the Tigers and major league baseball on the field is over for 2012.  But the off the field action is just getting going, free agents are filing, options are being picked up and declined and target lists are being finalized.  Free agents can sign as of Saturday so get ready for the Jays to .... not do much.

And don't forget the team needs a manager.

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The Jays are starting their second manager search in two years.  Media stories suggest the Jays are not out front of this yet.  Reportedly Sandy Alomar or Brad Ausmus had not been contacted by the Jays as of yesterday.  I would have thought that the Jays had seen the writing on the John Farrell wall at least a week ago and would have a list of interview candidates ready to go yesterday.  There are not a lot of manager openings at this time so the Jays can still have a lot of guys to pick from, even if they take their time.  However AA told all the coaches that they were free to seek work elsewhere.  While some might be OK with seeing Boston pick up John Farrell, they might be less happy if he picks over the best of the Blue Jay coaches.
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