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Ted Lilly apparently will not be pitching for the Blue Jays next season, narrowing his decision to the Cubs and Yankees.

Jason Schmidt cashes in today - 3 years, $47 million.


UPDATE (9:45 pm): Lilly to the Cubs is official now.  Four years, $40 million.
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The old thread has enough miles on it, so here's a new one.

those gentle voices I hear
explain it all with a sigh

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Here's a new thread for discussing all the moves that are unfolding at the Winter Meetings.
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The results are in.  Blue Jay fans considered John McDonald and Vernon Wells as the best defenders on the club.  Aaron Hill did very well on my ballot, but I probably sneaked in some consideration of his superior pivot on the double play into the "instincts" and "release" departments.  Surprises?
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On my blog, I'm holding up the Jays' McDonald, and the Expos Angel Salazar as possibly the best fielders around who couldn't hit MLB pitching.  When discussing McDonald, I said:

It must be a virtual certainty that hes a great fielder, since hes never had 300 PA, has come into the league at almost age 25, is now 32, has 1146 career PA, his career OPS+ is 56, with a career high of 75.  His career high in salary is 500,000$. Hes also had SIX different managers on three teams.

And, here is the criteria:

1 - has been in the league for at least 5 seasons
2 - has played in at least 300 games
3 - has averaged less than 4 PA per game (preferably under 3)
4 - has a career OPS+ of under 60
5 - is a 2B,SS,3B,CF (i.e., not a catcher, and Id be shocked if you could find anyone at another position)
6 - better than league average fielding percentage

Peter Bergeron of the Expos is another that qualifies.  So, are we in the midst of seeing McDonald be the best at this?

Our own Leigh Sprague got the ball rolling with his fictional take on the Barajas/Zaun affair. Now, Protrade's Ryan Wilkins weighs in with haiku concerning the Manny Ramirez to LA trade rumours. We take poetry very seriously here at da Box, and the possibilities this off-season are endless. A player. A team. A general manager (I'm still searching for rhymes for Hendry). So, let's have them, Bauxites.
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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Blue Jays have signed Royce Clayton to a 1 year, $1.5 million deal. The deal is pending a physical (and Clayton not switching agents at the last minute).
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*We here at Batter's Box are not generally prone to writing fiction. However, the events of the last two days have inspired me to present the following short story.

...............................

Oh sure, they said it would be fun, but I was skeptical. As comforted as I was by the prospect of an evening of draught beer, sports-related conversation and latently homoerotic male bonding, I just felt like staying home. I told them that I was planning to watch Monday Night Football alone, to see a geriatric Brett Favre, to chuckle quietly while Tony Kornheiser juxtaposes football and pop culture to the befuddlement of an ignorant Joe Theissman, and, most importantly, to selfishly root for a backdoor cover of the eleven point spread.
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Smithers discusses Justin Morneau and his distant predecessor:

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So Frank Thomas is coming to T.O. Okay, that in itself provides plenty to talk about (do so here) ... but have you noticed, there are a few other things going on?

Bob Geren will manage the A's ... and maybe, just maybe, also manage that Bonds fellow? ... The Cubs traded for Neal Cotts in their first swap with their crosstown neighbors since the legendary deal of Jon Garland to the ChiSox for the immortal Matt Karchner ... And oh yeah, The Best Pitcher in the World (sorry, Mr. Matsuzaka), Johan Santana, won his second (of what could eventually be seven or eight) AL Cy Young Award ...

Thoughts?

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Well, it looks like the Jays might be making an early splash. ESPN.com reports that the Jays are "closing in on a deal with Thomas".

Ken Rosenthal adds that the deal is for 2 years and at least $20 million with a club option for a third year. Jon Heyman at CNNSI.com has the deal at two years and $23 million.

It's possible both contract reports are correct if the third year option has a buyout in it for $3 million.
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(Yeah, I know I rhymed go with go.)
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Jeff Blair's back with a couple of columns.
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Today, a look at the offseason.
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