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– The Dodgers have focused on acquiring Jays RHP Roy Halladay, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. The Dodgers lacked an ace all year long, but their need became abundantly clear when they had to turn to RHP Vicente Padilla in an elimination game against the Phillies. Nightengale writes that the Dodgers would have to give up RHP Chad Billingsley and others to acquire Halladay, which would be a mighty impressive haul if new GM Alex Anthopoulos is able to pull it off.
– Giants ace RHP Tim Lincecum has won the NL Cy Young Award on Thursday for the second consecutive season. He repeats for the first time since LHP Randy Johnson did from 1999-2002. “The Freak” went 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA, led the NL with 261 strikeouts, and tied for the league lead with four complete games and two shutouts. Lincecum barely edged out Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter, who earned nine first-place votes and teammate RHP Adam Wainwright, who actually had 12 first-place votes. Lincecum is just the second pitcher to win the award without the most first place votes – LHP Tom Glavine was the other in 1998. There’s an argument to be made that Lincecum was actually better this season than he was in 2008, posting a lower ERA (2.48 compared to 2.62), a lower WHIP (1.05 compared to 1.17) and a lower batting average against (.206 compared to .221).
– Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that OF Jason Bay rejected a four-year contract offer from the Red Sox. Boston’s offer was believed to be around $60M. “It’s not a surprise that a player that’s gone this far wants to see what’s out there,” said general manager Theo Epstein. Bay, 31, will hit the free agent market for the first time in his career on Friday. He is one of the top three free agents available and will take his chances of earning more on the open market.
– Angels owner Arte Moreno has ruled out signing OF Matt Holliday, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. Moreno reportedly made the declaration at the annual owners’ meetings on Thursday. While Holliday’s asking price may be too high, Moreno would consider signing OF Jason Bay if the club is unable to retain RHP John Lackey, 3B Chone Figgins and OF Vladimir Guerrero. Moreno acknowledged that the club can’t likely to afford to keep all three.
– Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that trade talks for Marlins 2B Dan Uggla got “pretty hot and heavy” at the GM meetings, with the Giants and Rangers being mentioned as potential landing spots. Uggla has been linked to the G-Men for some time now, but the Rangers’ interest is new. According to the report, if the Marlins don’t get what they want in exchange for the 29-year-old Uggla, they are open to dealing one of their other arbitration-eligible players – a group that includes 1B Jorge Cantu, OF Cody Ross, SS Alfredo Amezaga and RHP Ricky Nolasco. Still, Uggla is the most likely among them to be dealt.
– The Rays have become the “clear-cut favorite” to acquire OF Milton Bradley from the Cubs, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The two parties have been linked for a while, with OF Pat Burrell-for-Bradley as the rumoured swap. Bradley is owed $21M over the next two seasons while Burrell will make $9M in 2010. The difference in contracts has reportedly been the biggest stumbling block on a deal.
– According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, a developing three-way deal is being discussed involving Mariners RHP Brandon Morrow and Tigers LHP Edwin Jackson. It’s hard to know what to make of this until the third team and player is revealed, however the Tigers are reportedly listening to offers for the 26-year-old Jackson. Morrow, 25, bounced back and forth between the bullpen, the starting rotation and Triple-A Tacoma in 2009, but his potential is unquestioned.
– The Cubs have re-signed LHP John Grabow to a two-year deal.
– WWE announcer Jerry Lawler tells the UK Sun that even if Jim Ross is healthy and able to return to work in the coming months, WWE will probably hold off on bringing him back to the announcer’s table until WrestleMania 26 next year.
“There’s a strong possibility that WrestleMania could be when he makes a return. Even if it’s a situation where he could return a little bit before that, it might be best to just wait and let him come back at Mania – as the comeback of JR would be a big draw.”
Lawler repeated what JR said in a recent blog, that it will two or three months to become “facially ready” for TV again. Lawler says Ross’s voice sounds fine over the phone and someone on the other end wouldn’t know he’s only able to talk out of one side of his mouth.
“I texted him last night, and spoke with him this past week, and he’s doing better but says it will probably be a few months before he’s facially ready to be back on television. But when you talk to him, when you just hear his voice, you can’t tell. He doesn’t have slurred speech any more.”
– The November 16 edition of Raw drew a 3.5 cable rating, way up from last week’s disappointing 3.1. The good news continues for WWE, as they’ve snapped the troubling trend of the show losing viewers in the second hour. The hourly numbers for this week’s show were 3.37 for the first hour and 3.56 for the second.
– The Hurricanes have placed F Eric Staal (UBI) on the IR and G Cam Ward (leg) on the long-term IR. Staal is out a minimum of 10 days, while Ward will sit out 24 days or 10 games. The team is targeting Ward’s possible return for December 5 against Vancouver.
– Senators F Alexei Kovalev (funeral) will miss several games. Kovalev is attending the funeral of his mother-in-law in Russia.
– News that signing G Allen Iverson may force the Knicks to move another player simultaneously could make this deal take several days to get done. Iverson clears waivers at 6 p.m. Thursday, but signing him may involve moving another player, possibly G Chris Duhon, which will slow the process considerably. After indicating Wednesday that the Knicks would likely make Iverson an offer, on Thursday GM Donnie Walsh said that no decision had been reached, and one might not come soon. Stay tuned for updates.