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12:30 PM ET, February 12, 2020

Ballbug

 Top News: 
Washington Post:
The world just learned of the Astros' cheating.  Inside baseball, it was an open secret.  —  On the evening of Oct. 22, 2019, a group of umpires, Major League Baseball officials and the brain trusts of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros — the respective general managers …
RELATED:
The Athletic:
Details emerge about Carlos Beltrán's role in the 2017 Astros clubhouse and the team's sign-stealing scheme  —  You're an accessory to a robbery, and now you're in the backseat of the getaway car.  You never intended to be part of a criminal act.  But the doors are locked …
Jeff Passan / ESPN:
Sources: Astros owner Jim Crane to talk strategy with team amid scandal  —  WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane is expected to meet with the full Astros roster Wednesday to discuss the team's strategy for publicly addressing the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked …
Nancy Armour / USA Today:
Pitcher Mike Bolsinger says cheating Astros changed course of his career
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Mike Bolsinger Sues Astros Over Sign-Stealing Scheme
Discussion: Sports Illustrated
Joel Sherman / New York Post:
MLB plotting playoff expansion — with reality TV twist  —  Imagine a team picking its playoff opponent.  Think about Brian Cashman and the Yankees deciding whether to face the Red Sox or avoid them in the first round of the postseason.  All on live TV.  —  Well, it is probably coming soon to the major leagues.
RELATED:
ESPN:
Sources: MLB weighing major changes to postseason, including growing number of teams to 14
Discussion: USA Today and NBCSports.com
ESPN:
Love it or hate it? The proposal to shake up the MLB playoffs
Discussion: Bleed Cubbie Blue, USA Today and Reason
Associated Press:
Red Sox Name Ron Roenicke as Interim Manager  —  Roenicke, Boston's bench coach, was put in charge on the eve of the team's first spring training workout.  He replaced Alex Cora, who was let go because of his role in the Astros' sign-stealing scandal.  —  FORT MYERS, Fla. …
RELATED:
Joon Lee / ESPN:
Chaim Bloom says Red Sox prioritized ‘big picture’ over fan reaction in trading Mookie Betts
Max Goodman / Sports Illustrated:
Breaking Down a Potential Yankees vs. Dodgers World Series Matchup
Discussion: Over the Monster
Bill Shanks / Sports Illustrated:
Braves start day one with news of Cole Hamels' injury  —  On a day that is counted down to all winter, the day pitchers and catchers officially report to spring training, the Atlanta Braves had inauspicious news start spring training Wednesday morning.  —  Manager Brian Snitker told reporters …
Discussion: MLB Baseball News …
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Gabriel Burns / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Braves roster preview: Rotation could be formidable ... or position of need
Discussion: The Good Phight and Talking Chop
Scott Gleeson / USA Today:
Entering another spring training with Mets, Tim Tebow 'won't give up' on baseball dream  —  If Tim Tebow strikes out at baseball, it's certainly going to be swinging.  —  Tebow begins spring training with the New York Mets organization next week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. …
Discussion: New York Post
Jon Paul Morosi / MLB.com:
Several teams checking in on KB trade (sources)  —  Kris Bryant is due to arrive to Sloan Park in Mesa, Ariz., later this week.  By all indications, he will be in the Cubs' Opening Day lineup in Milwaukee on March 26.  —  Yet, it's also true that the Cubs remain engaged in communication …
Alden Gonzalez / ESPN:
Joe Maddon opens up on leaving Chicago Cubs, returning to L.A. Angels  —  LONG BEACH, Calif. — Joe Maddon settled into a small Italian deli bordering the Pacific coast Friday, only a block from the high-rise condominium that housed him for the past month, and instantly felt regret.
Jeff Wilson / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Greg Bird comes to Texas Rangers camp early, healthy, ready to compete at first base  —  Feeling healthy again and with a job to win, Greg Bird is a week early to Texas Rangers spring training.  —  Once a top New York Yankees prospect, Bird was designated for assignment in November after four injury-plagued seasons.
Discussion: Lone Star Ball
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Phillies Hope For 2nd Half Return From David Robertson  —  The Phillies are hopeful they've got a built-in summer acquisition in the form of veteran reliever David Robertson.  As Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Twitter, new Phils skipper Joe Girardi says that he hopes Robertson …
Patrick Mooney / The Athletic:
When Kris Bryant gets to Mesa, he'll be the center of attention for a Cubs team in flux  —  While the rest of Major League Baseball has spent around $2.1 billion on free agents this offseason, the Cubs are banking on fuzzy concepts like attention to detail and a more structured clubhouse environment …
 
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 More News: 
Tim Healey / Newsday:
Mets manager Luis Rojas: ‘We expect to be a contender’
Discussion: Newsday
Marc Topkin / Tampa Bay Times:
Is Rays' Charlie Morton retiring after 2020?
Discussion: MLB Trade Rumors
Steve Adams / MLB Trade Rumors:
Mariners To Sign Carlos Gonzalez
Jeff Todd / MLB Trade Rumors:
Athletics Showing Interest In Jason Kipnis
 Earlier Picks: 
Associated Press:
Ahmed, D-backs agree to $32.5 million, 4-year deal
Discussion: AZ Snake Pit
David Schoenfield / ESPN:
One thing to watch for all 30 teams as spring training begins
Discussion: NESN.com
 

 
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