FanPost

DLD 12.17.10

Yesterday was a busy day for transactions:

12/16/10 New York Yankees signed free agent C Russell Martin.
Toronto Blue Jays signed free agent DH Edwin Encarnacion.
Texas Rangers signed OF Hirotoshi Onaka.
Texas Rangers signed free agent RHP Yhency Brazoban.
Cleveland Indians signed free agent SS Adam Everett.
Washington Nationals traded LF Josh Willingham to Oakland Athletics for RHP Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent RHP Matt Albers.
Boston Red Sox traded Eric Patterson to San Diego Padres.
Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent RHP Matt Guerrier.
Minnesota Twins traded C Jose Morales to Colorado Rockies and Modesto Nuts traded Paul Bargas to Fort Myers Miracle.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent LHP Lenny DiNardo.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent LHP Rich Hill.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent LHP Andrew Miller.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent LHP Randy Williams.
Boston Red Sox signed free agent RHP Clevelan Santeliz.
Washington Nationals signed free agent RHP Chien-Ming Wang.

Getting to know the newest A: Josh Willingham

He always knew he was going to be a ballplayer.

One of the kids was a fifth-grader named Josh Willingham. When they dug up the time capsule in 2000, they found his note:

"I'll be playing baseball for the University of Alabama and I'll get drafted and sign a pro contract."

Also...

Elizabeth Foster, Josh's delightful grandmother, recalled a story that's become family lore, from his first T-ball game. He hit the ball and hustled to first base, where he stopped. A coach told him, "Next time you hit it that hard, go to second."

So, sure enough, Willingham hit the ball hard next time up.

And sped directly from home plate to second base, bypassing first.

Willingham also has a foundation, that the story notes, was started after the untimely death of his brother.

He bounced around a lot in the minors.

In his first pro season alone, he played outfield and every infield position and occasionally was the designated hitter. The following season, Willingham settled in at third base for Class A Kane County in the Midwest League; in 2002, he moved up to the Florida State League and spent most of his time at first base.

He's saying all the right things so far.

"I'm excited, because I know the potential of this club," Willingham said. "I know they have really good young pitching, and obviously they upgraded the lineup with their previous acquisitions. I think this team is ready to win."

He seems like a pretty good guy, overall.

A group of young children were grouped up in the corner of the stands nearest to the Marlins dug out. Many of them requested autographs of random players that walked by, often calling them “Hey number 12″ or “Hey Ross” because they didn’t know who they were. Most of the children got their autos and were very pleased, but one ballsy little boy had the courage to ask Josh Willingham for his batting gloves. Josh gave the boy a pleasant smile and replied with a simple “maybe” as he walked towards the batting cages. The young boy looked disappointed as Willingham walked away. He naturally assumed that the ball player would not return. After a few minutes, to the surprise of everyone, Josh had returned. He tossed the young boy his batting gloves and the child jumped with glee. “Thank you!” shouted the boy. He then placed the enormous batting gloves on his tiny hands and proclaimed “The Hammer just gave me his batting gloves!”.

Other stuff:

MLB doesn't think it's necessary to tweak the posting system. Not quoted: Don Nomura.

"I don't think so," MLB Japan's managing director Jim Small told Kyodo News on Thursday, when asked if MLB feels compelled to tweak the existing posting system. "I wouldn't say we're at a point where it's necessary to change.

"Everything that we do, we look at and say is this the best way to do it, is there a better way to do it. That type of analysis is going on with everything we do, including this.

"But it's not driven out of a desire to change the system."

Iwakuma became the first player not to sign with a team through the posting system. The Rakuten Eagles put up their ace for bidding, which Oakland won with a fee of $19.1 million, but Iwakuma and the Athletics failed to come to terms within the allotted 30 days.

Non-baseball stuff:

Mark Cuban's money is burning a hole in his pocket, so he wants to scrap the BCS. Please, please, please.

Cuban, the outspoken owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday that he is "actively interested but in the exploratory stage" of creating and funding a playoff system to crown a champion for major college football.

"The more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team," said Cuban, who tried to buy the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers within the last few years. "You can do something the whole country wants done."

Finally someone speaks out for us short guys.

Some gift ideas if you're broke.

 

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