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11:15 AM ET, January 9, 2019

Ballbug

 Top News: 
ESPN:
Former Cardinal Chris Duncan takes leave from radio job  —  Former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan has taken a permanent leave of absence from his radio job to battle brain cancer.  —  Duncan, the son of former Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, hit 22 homers as a rookie during St. Louis' 2006 title run.
RELATED:
Scott Boeck / USA Today:
Chris Duncan, former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, battling brain cancer  —  Chris Duncan, the former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder who was a part of the 2006 World Series championship team, has taken a permanent medical leave of absence from his ESPN radio show to focus on his battle against brain cancer.
Derrick Goold / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Chris Duncan leaves radio role to focus on his battle with brain cancer  —  Chris Duncan, the Cardinals' slugger who found his swing with a championship team and later his voice with a local sports radio station, has taken a permanent leave from his on-air role to focus on his ongoing battle against brain cancer.
Discussion: Fox News and FOX2now.com
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:
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 …
Discussion: MLB Trade Rumors
ESPN:   2019's stealth contenders and the next move each should make
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 …
RELATED:
Tim Bannon / Chicago Tribune:
The White Sox keep hiring Manny Machado's friends and relatives. Weird coincidence?
Jeff PassanESPN / ESPN:
White Sox to sign Jon Jay to one-year, $4 million contract
Craig Calcaterra / NBCSports.com:
White Sox sign outfielder Jon Jay
Discussion: Bleacher Nation
David Schoenfield / ESPN:
Rankings and predictions for every top remaining free agent  —  It's time for a free-agency update!  There are still a lot of free agents out there beside Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — including some quality second basemen, one of the best closers of all time, some past-their-prime outfielders …
Phil Thompson / Chicago Tribune:
Kelvin Herrera says White Sox remind him of the rebuilding Royals who won the 2015 World Series  —  Chicago Tribune  —  Kelvin Herrera played an integral role on the Royals team that won the 2015 World Series, and the White Sox's newest reliever said he sees some of the same signs …
Discussion: Sox Machine
J.J. Cooper / Baseball America:
Astros Scouting And Player Development Is Extending Team's Contention Window  —  With the Mets needing corner infield depth, the Astros sent third baseman J.D. Davis to New York on Sunday and brought back in return Luis Santana, a promising teenaged middle infield prospect who is years away from the majors.
Ken Davidoff / New York Post:
How David Wright's restructured deal opens up millions for Mets  —  In his first move in his new job, David Wright ... saved the Mets money?  —  He did.  An industry source confirmed (while also amending) information displayed in the popular website Cot's Baseball Contracts …
Discussion: Forbes and SNY
Rick Stroud / Tampa Bay Times:
How Cubs manager Joe Maddon helped recruit Bruce Arians to the Bucs  —  Maddon and Arians grew up about 100 miles apart in Pennsylvania and a dinner at his south Tampa restaurant helped talk the Cardinals coach out of retiremment  —  Bruce Arians needed some convincing.
Discussion: ProFootballTalk
Steve Adams / MLB Trade Rumors:
CC Sabathia Cleared To Resume Baseball Activities  —  Veteran lefty CC Sabathia gave Yankees fans some cause for concern when he underwent an angioplasty last month, but the team announced today that followup exams of Sabathia went well.  Per the Yankees' release, Sabathia …
Gerry Fraley / Dallas Morning News:
Rangers add an innovation to Triple-A Nashville staff: Eric Gagne as bullpen coach  —  Matt Blood, the Texas Rangers' new director of player development, has added his first new look to the minor-league system.  —  Eric Gagne, a dominant reliever a decade ago, will serve as bullpen coach with Triple-A Nashville this season.
 
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 More News: 
Andrew Baggarly / The Athletic:
Giants have short-term hurdles in rebuilding their roster, but here's how to make the best of 2019
Discussion: NBCSports.com and Halos Heaven
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Dodgers Acquire Jaime Schultz
Discussion: MLB Daily Dish and DRaysBay
Matt Borelli / DodgerBlue.com:
Dodgers News: Dave Roberts ‘Very Happy’ To See Paul Goldschmidt Traded Out Of NL West
Discussion: AZ Snake Pit
 Earlier Picks: 
Matt Ehalt / Daily Record:
Choosing Travis d'Arnaud over Kevin Plawecki could backfire on NY Mets
Pete Caldera / Daily Record:
Yankees sign outfielder Billy Burns to minor-league deal with spring training invite
Discussion: Pinstripe Alley
 

 
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