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Saturday News, Notes, and Open Thread

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With the SB Nation servers down for a bit today, I took a break from baseball and tried to get myself into the holiday spirit. It really wasn't a bad day actually, but the traffic everywhere was a killer. Nevertheless, we managed to have "Breakfast with Santa," do a little shopping, and cruise through an electric light show. It reminded me that I really do love this time of the year!

On the baseball front, it seems as though the calm has settled in before the storm...set to begin on Monday in Dallas at the annual winter meetings. Still no news on where Rafael Furcal will wind up. Kyle Farnsworth is officially a Yankee and Chipper Jones' restructured contract is complete.

My interview with John Scheurholz was fantastic, and I have begun to transcribe the 40 minute dialogue. I hope to have part one posted by late tomorrow evening.

Just a few little tidbits I thought were interesting as I ran through my daily reading today...

The first involves a story by Scott Miller over at CBS Sportsline. In reviewing the players that may be on the move this week, Scott wrote this little piece on Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo:

"The Braves, if they lose Furcal, could include catcher Brian McCann and infielder Wilson Betemit in a deal for Lugo."

Memo to Scott: Get off the drugs! NOW! I find it very hard to believe that the Braves would deal Wilson Betamit alone for Julio Lugo, let alone Betamit and McCann! In fact, where the hell is he getting the idea that the Braves are willing to deal Brian McCann at all? He is NOT available. Geez...

The second little piece is a great one, courtesy of Jamey Newberg of the Newberg Report. Jamey writes:

I hate the Yankees.

I don't hate their players.  (Not most of them, at least.)  Or their manager.  Or their general manager.

I used to hate them (and still do) because when they decide they'd be better with Randy Johnson or Mike Mussina or Gary Sheffield, they just go get the guy.  Now I'm beginning to hate them more because when Kevin Brown or Jaret Wright or Carl Pavano doesn't quite work out, so what? Outspend the mistake. Nobody's worse off.

At least nobody who plays for, works for, or roots for the Yankees.

When I heard that New York was zeroing in on signing Kyle Farnsworth for three years and about $17 million, I cringed. I never expected Texas to be in the running for Farnsworth, who was sure to get multiple opportunities to close games -- or to be paid like a closer -- but his deal, just like B.J. Ryan's (Toronto) before it, and Scott Eyre's (Cubs) and Bobby Howry's (Cubs)and starter Esteban Loaiza's (Oakland), is making things tough on Jon Daniels and two dozen other GM's in the league.

Man, isn't that the truth. Jamey makes a great point. Once upon a time, the Braves were owned by Ted Turner. But that isn't the case anymore. Under the new regime, the Atlanta Braves can't afford to pass out 3 year $17 million contracts to what amounts to, a middle reliever. Sure Farnsworth was impressive and effective for Atlanta. But at $6 million per season when some of the elite closers are "only" making $9 million? It doesn't make sense for the Braves to take on that contract or risk, nor does it make sense for 75% of the rest of the league. Whoever still thinks that the luxury tax deterrence is working, better revisit that theory.

Until tomorrow...

Joe