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9:25 AM ET, February 5, 2024

Ballbug

 Top News: 
Bob Nightengale / USA Today:
How 2024 Caribbean Series was influenced by MLB legend Ralph Avila |  Nightengale's Notebook  —  The center of the baseball universe these days is the Caribbean Series in Miami, the first time in its glorious history that tournament is being played in a Major League Stadium at loanDepot Park.
Robert Murray / FanSided:
MLB Insider: What I'm hearing on Bobby Witt Jr., Gary Sanchez, Joey Gallo, Angels  —  Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and the Kansas City Royals have had conversations about a contract extension, according to sources familiar with the situation.  —  The Royals have been one of baseball's …
Baseball America:
2024 MLB Farm System Talent Rankings  —  Image credit: Jackson Holliday (Photo by Isaiah Jones)  —  For the second consecutive year, the Orioles enter the season with the best farm system in baseball.  —  Baltimore is built for the long run.  The Orioles are coming off a 101-win season …
RELATED:
Kiley McDaniel / ESPN:
2024 MLB farm system rankings: Prospect insights, predictions  —  Now that we have ranked the top 100 MLB prospects heading into the 2024 season, let's see how all 30 major league farm systems compare.  —  While it's nice to have baseball's best farm system, it is still one degree removed …
ESPN:
MLB Power Rankings: Who's No. 1 on our winter list?  —  Players soon will be reporting to camps, and yet, some of the top free agents still haven't signed.  So while we wait, let's take a look ahead toward the start of the 2024 season.  —  Where does every team stand heading into spring training?
David Laurila / FanGraphs Baseball:
Sunday Notes: Pittsburgh Proud, David Bednar Steps on the Gas and Attacks  —  David Bednar was an unproven San Diego Padres pitcher when he was first featured here at FanGraphs in March 2020.  The burly right-hander had made just 13 big-league appearances, all in the previous season …
Brendan Coffey / Sportico:
Theo Epstein Returns to Fenway Sports as Part Owner, Advisor  —  One-time Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is returning to the organization, taking part ownership of Fenway Sports Group and joining in the role of senior advisor, FSG will announce Friday morning.
RELATED:
ESPN:
Sources: Twins, first baseman Carlos Santana agree to deal  —  The Minnesota Twins added a veteran bat on Friday, agreeing to a deal with free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, sources confirmed to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.  —  Santana's contract is for one year and worth $5.25 million, according to multiple reports.
Alden Gonzalez / ESPN:
Diamond Sports agrees with Rangers, Guardians, Twins on cable contracts  —  MLB, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians  —  Diamond Sports Group, the regional sports operator hoping to emerge from bankruptcy, reached agreements with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians …
Jeff Howe / The Athletic:
What I'm hearing about Senior Bowl QBs' slow starts, Baker Mayfield's future, Pats GM  —  MOBILE, Ala. — Don't stress over the quarterbacks' performances during the week of Senior Bowl practices.  —  They struggled, yes, but that's the expectation.  They arrived in Mobile for the first phase …
Discussion: The Athletic
Morning Call:
Groundhog Day: Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see his shadow, forecasting early spring  —  Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow Friday, predicting an early spring from Gobbler's Knob, Pennsylvania, the scene of the country's largest and best known Groundhog Day celebration.
RELATED:
Jake Fischer / Yahoo Sports:
This year's NBA trade market hindered by a lack of significant activity  —  Less than a week remains before the NBA's trade deadline, and yet news and noise around the league has been few and far between.  The Houston Rockets trading the injured Victor Oladipo and his expiring contract …
 
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From WeSmirch:

Rebecca Rubin / Variety:
Andrew Scott Joins ‘Knives Out 3’ Cast (EXCLUSIVE)

Rebecca English / Daily Mail:
Get well, Kate! Palace is flooded with ‘tens of thousands’ of get-well-soon cards and gifts for the Princess of Wales as she continues cancer battle

Jen Juneau / People:
Molly Ringwald Says She Was ‘Taken Advantage of’ by ‘Predators’ as a Young Actress in Hollywood

 
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