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Today, John Beamer tells us in THT that most projection systems have Frank Thomas mashing in 2007 for 450-500 plate appearances. Meanwhile Rich Lederer in Baseball Analysts reviews the ground-ball and strikeout tendencies (Shouldn't Strikeout Tendency be the name of a Marxist faction?) of minor leaguers, and finds that Chi-Hung Cheng was in the right place last year before his injury. And the Todd Helton trade talks continue, with money as opposed to players seeming to be the major issue. "Helton for diddlysquat" doesn't quite have the ring of "Manny for nothing", does it?

And don't forget, it's only 3 weeks until pitchers and Molinas.

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Jeff Weaver and Arthur Rhodes are about to sign with Seattle, so the M's should be in good shape to win the division -- Oh, wait, it's not 1999 any more ... Willie Randolph re-upped with the Mets at double the salary -- imagine if he'd actually won something! ...

Glendon Rusch has been released by the Cubbies, so he joins the still-available open market with other Names You Probably Know like Gabe Kapler, Phil Nevin, Eddie Guardado, Tony Armas, Jr. and hey, ex-Jay hotshot Steve Karsay ...

What else?

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Today's News ... let's see ...

Antonio Alfonseca to the Phillies ... Mark Bellhorn to the Reds ... The legend and greatness of Fernando Tatis to the Dodgers ... The A's traded Kirk Saarloos and a PTBNL to the Reds for David Shafer and a (presumably different) PTBNL ... In The Biggest News of the Day (so far), two-time All-Star Darin Erstad, a Gold Glove at two positions and a silver slugger to boot, signed on with the White Sox ...

So it's not ALL about Tomo Ohka! What else?

Time to get a new all-everything, what-is-there-to-talk-about? thread started up. There is apparently no huge breaking news in the world of the 90-foot baselines right now ... What, are you psyched about Trot Nixon heading to Cleveland? Cliff Floyd possibly landing in Wrigley? Chase Utley getting a gazillion dollars from the Phillies? Have a comment on the loss of one of the sport's good guys, Vern Ruhle?

What's going on out there?

The Jays signed catcher Sal Fasano to a minor league deal.
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John Thomson (and his good buddy at the Sun, John Thompson) wasn't the only one to sign recently.

Mulder re-signs with the Cards and the SS Loogy signs with the Mets. Apparently Schoeneweis isn't worried about Paul LoDuca.

[More] (135 words) is reporting that Randy Johnson has, indeed, been traded from the Yankees to the Arizona Diamondbacks, for Luis Vizcaino and two minor leaguers. The story is here.

Pineiro to BoSox; Ponson to Twins
Neither has ever made an All-Star team, but as recently as 2003, they combined for 33 wins and were each seen as young front-of-the-rotation building blocks. Now Sir Sidney Ponson has signed on with the Minnesota Twins while Joel Pineiro is going cross-country from Seattle to Boston.

Will this do anything to the AL pennant race(s)? Got any other news or commentary to provide?

It sounds like Zito to the Giants might be close to happening. At least that's what the Rangers think. Gammons says 7 years and $18 million/season.  That works out to $126 million.  Wow.

Former Blue Jay seaman, Shea Hillenbrand, signed a one year deal with the Angels guaranteeing him $6.0 million in 2007. The Angels have a $6.5 million option for 2008. No word on what Hillenbrand will be giving to Juan Rivera.

Jeff Suppan cashed in, signing with the Brew-crew for 4 years and $42 million.

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The Phillies have signed catcher Rod Barajas to a one year deal for $2.5 million with a team option for a second year.
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A notable signing yesterday, but not of a free agent - the Rockies signed Jeff Francis to a four year deal for $13.25 million.  
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There's been roughly 22 signings so far. The market for hitters has become a little more established. The market for starting pitching is still hazy as El Duque and Mussina are the only ones to have signed contracts at this point.
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Back in June, I went wandering through the history of all 30 active franchises. I was interested in each team's all-time record - were they winners overall or were they losers? What was each team's highest mark above .500, what was the lowest? If they have a losing record, when did they fall below .500? Stuff like that.
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I've been a little burnt out lately, and I probably need to take a long rest. But I do have some thoughts on the 2006 American League champions.

In the immortal words of Butch Cassidy, "who are those guys?"
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Julio Lugo is interested in joining the Blue Jays according to a Blair article in the Globe.
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A's 5 - Twins 2 (A's lead series 2 - 0)

Mets 6 - Dodgers 5 (Mets lead series 1 - 0)
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