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7:35 PM ET, January 8, 2019

Ballbug

 Top News: 
Associated Press:
MLB payrolls dropped for 1st time since 2010  —  Spending on Major League Baseball payrolls dropped last season for the first time since 2010, an $18 million decrease attributable to drug and domestic violence suspensions and a player retiring at midseason.  —  Still, even a year with flat payrolls is unusual for MLB.
RELATED:
Jeff PassanESPN / ESPN:
White Sox to sign Jon Jay to one-year, $4 million contract  —  Free-agent outfielder Jon Jay agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the Chicago White Sox, a source confirmed to ESPN, adding another close friend of Manny Machado as the White Sox pursue the star in free agency.
Paul Sullivan / Baltimore Sun:
Failing to land Manny Machado — or Bryce Harper — would be a double doink for the White Sox  —  Photos of Manny Machado, one of the top free agents this season.  —  Chicago Tribune  —  If the idea is to make Manny Machado's comfort zone so big he won't think twice about choosing …
Bob Nightengale / USA Today:
Red Sox crave back-to-back World Series championships, but road will be rough  —  David Dombrowski, the architect of the Boston Red Sox team that steamrolled the opposition in 2018, returned from the remote island of Roatan in the Caribbean last week.  He was tanned, relaxed and had discovered …
Tim Bannon / Chicago Tribune:
The White Sox keep hiring Manny Machado's friends and relatives.  Weird coincidence?  —  Photos of Manny Machado, one of the top free agents this season.  —  Chicago Tribune  —  The White Sox's links to Manny Machado are either a calculated attempt to lure the free agent to the South Side or just a wacky coincidence.
Associated Press:
Baseball notebook: Harper scheduled to meet with Phillies on Saturday  —  The Phillies are set to visit Bryce Harper's hometown on Saturday for a sales pitch as they fly to Las Vegas to continue their pursuit of the superstar free agent, Philly.com reported Monday.
Craig Calcaterra / NBCSports.com:
White Sox sign outfielder Jon Jay
Discussion: MLB Daily Dish and Bleacher Nation
Ken Davidoff / New York Post:
Price at which Manny Machado would be worth risk to Yankees
Evan Drellich / NBCSports.com:
Red Sox talking contract extension with one of their core players
Gabe Lacques / USA Today:
From hot stove to death march, baseball is screwing itself one cold winter at a time
ESPN:
2019's stealth contenders and the next move each should make  —  I think many of us share an idea of who makes up the cream of the MLB crop.  In the American League, it would be a shock not to see the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Houston Astros return to the playoffs.
RELATED:
Matt Borelli / DodgerBlue.com:
Dodgers News: Dave Roberts ‘Very Happy’ To See Paul Goldschmidt Traded Out Of NL West  —  With MLB free agency mired in a bit of a lull, most of the attention has since shifted to the trade market.  A few blockbusters have come to fruition in recent weeks, including one between the Los Angeles Dodgers …
Discussion: AZ Snake Pit
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Dodgers Acquire Jaime Schultz  —  The Dodgers have struck a deal to acquire right-hander Jaime Schultz from the Rays, per Eduardo Encina of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).  Fellow righty Caleb Sampen is headed to Tampa Bay in return.  —  Schultz was bumped from the Tampa Bay 40-man roster recently …
Pete Caldera / Daily Record:
Yankees sign outfielder Billy Burns to minor-league deal with spring training invite  —  NEW YORK — Switch-hitting former Athletics and Royals outfielder Billy Burns has agreed to a Yankees minor league contract with an invitation to big-league camp.  —  The signing of Burns, 29, was announced by the Yankees on Monday.
Discussion: Pinstripe Alley
Maury Brown / Forbes:
MLB Sees Record Revenues Of $10.3 Billion For 2018  —  The bottom line for Major League Baseball continued to be strong in 2018, even as growth slowed compared with previous years.  —  For the 16th consecutive year, MLB saw record gross revenues.  For 2018, baseball-related revenues were $10.3 billion …
Matt Ehalt / Daily Record:
Choosing Travis d'Arnaud over Kevin Plawecki could backfire on NY Mets  —  Mets welcome Wilson Ramos to Flushing  —  Once the Mets signed Wilson Ramos to be their everyday catcher, it made either Travis d'Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki expendable.  —  D'Arnaud has a higher ceiling but comes …
 
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 More News: 
Evan Woodbery / MLive.com:
For Tigers, talk of ‘timeline’ is taboo, but all signs point to pivotal 2020
Rick Hummel / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Jerry Buchek dies; ‘South St. Louis kid’ played for Cardinals
Discussion: baseballmusings.com
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Brewers, Giants Have Reportedly Discussed Madison Bumgarner Trade
 Earlier Picks: 
Dave Clark / Cincinnati.com:
Report: Dallas Kuechel to Cincinnati Reds not probable, but more likely than Sonny Gray
Matt Ehalt / Daily Record:
David Wright to join NY Mets front office as assistant to GM Brodie Van Wagenen
Wallace Matthews / New York Daily News:
How Troy Tulowitzki sees the Yankees-Machado sweepstakes and an uncertain future
 

 
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Billboard:
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Prince Philip Visited Hospital for ‘Precautionary Check-Up’ After Crash: ‘No Injuries of Concern’

Joshua Espinoza / Complex:
Future on Ciara and Russell Wilson: ‘He Do Exactly What She Tell Him to Do’

 
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