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5:15 PM ET, January 18, 2019

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 Top News: 
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:
Joe Maddon denies report that Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo urged Chili Davis' firing  —  For the Cubs' Community Service Day, the team partnered with Good Sports, a nonprofit that provides equipment, apparel and footwear youngsters in need, for an event on Jan. 17, 2019, at Patrick Henry Elementary School.
RELATED:
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:
Joe Maddon likes his calm Cubs as NL Central competitors load up on talent  —  Chicago Tribune  —  The rival Cardinals made a major statement last month by trading for slugger Paul Goldschmidt and signing prized left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Miller.  —  The Brewers upgraded at catcher …
David Haugh / Chicago Tribune:   Column: Can Cubs do more in 2019 by doing less this offseason? Seems unlikely.
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:   Ian Happ excited to be reunited with new Cubs hitting coach Anthony Iapoce: 'He's a really high-energy guy'
Jesse Rogers / ESPN:   ‘I came up on one-year deals’: How Joe Maddon is approaching 2019
ESPN:
Angels reach one-year deal with Cody Allen to be closer next season  —  Free-agent reliever Cody Allen agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels, league sources told ESPN, filling a void in the back end of their bullpen after a half-decade closing for the Cleveland Indians.
RELATED:
Matthew Florjancic / WKYC-TV:
Mike Clevinger: Indians' roster moves show front office smart, adaptive to change  —  Mike Clevinger is confident in the Cleveland Indians' roster moves because the front office is smart, adaptive to change.  —  CLEVELAND — For starting pitcher Mike Clevinger and his Cleveland Indians teammates …
Kristie Ackert / New York Daily News:
Is baseball heading toward a strike?  Scott Boras warns the ‘noncompetitive cancer’ is spreading around MLB  —  Baseball is getting sicker.  —  The symptoms have been presenting for a while: sagging attendance, a growing number of “rebuilding” teams, a disappearing middle class of veteran players …
Discussion: CBS New York
Rick Hummel / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Keith Hernandez's star was rising 40 years ago with Cardinals  —  St. Louis Cardinals batter Keith Hernandez watches his single drop in, driving in two runs in the sixth inning of Game 7 of World Series, Oct. 30, 1982 in St. Louis, Mo. The RBI tied the game for the Cards and set up the tie-breaking score.
RELATED:
Rick Hummel / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:   Hernandez's star was rising 40 years ago with Cards
Jesse Yomtov / USA Today:
Free agent Dallas Keuchel wonders what it takes to get signed  —  With spring training approaching and top free agents remaining unsigned, it's been an another icy winter for baseball's hot stove.  —  Left-handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel is one of the best players still available and took …
Derrick Goold / St. Louis Post-Dispatch:NEW!
Longtime backup catcher Tony Cruz returns to Cardinals as minor-league instructor  —  ST. LOUIS  • True to their organization's goal of having one generation of players shape the next and so on, the Cardinals' list of managers and instructors for the minor-league system is dotted …
Atlanta Journal-Constitution:NEW!
Braves plan to hold Chop Fest, ‘rain or shine’  —  The Braves' annual Chop Fest fan event is still scheduled for Saturday at SunTrust Park.  A team representative said Friday that the event will take place “rain or shine.”  —  Many of the events are scheduled for indoors …
Jeff PassanESPN / ESPN:
Yankees, Adam Ottavino agree to 3-year, $27 million deal  —  Free-agent reliever Adam Ottavino and the New York Yankees agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal Thursday, league sources told ESPN, fortifying an already deep bullpen with a strikeout-happy right-hander who was one of the best setup men in baseball last season.
Discussion: New York Times and Uni Watch
RELATED:
Wallace Matthews / New York Daily News:   Adam Ottavino is no splash signing, but this Yankee bullpen is now the best in baseball
Pete Caldera / Daily Record:
Clint Frazier says he's ready to participate in Yankees spring training camp  —  NEW YORK — Clint Frazier is ready for spring training, a development he excitedly announced on Twitter.  —  Via his account Thursday, the Yankees' outfielder — who battled through a concussion …
Discussion: Sporting News and Pinstripe Alley
RELATED:
Kyle Schnitzer / New York Post:
Clint Frazier finally cleared, immediately angles for Yankees job
Discussion: Pinstripe Alley
Arizona Republic:
Starting?  Closing?  Searching for meaning in Diamondbacks pitcher Archie Bradley's tweets  —  Diamondbacks Archie Bradley calls teachers to let them know they won $5,000  —  Will Archie Bradley be a starting pitcher next season or a closer?  —  Well, if you follow the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher …
Jesse Yomtov / USA Today:
Baseball Hall of Fame countdown: Mariano Rivera could break voting record  —  USA TODAY Sports is counting down the top 10 candidates on the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in advance of the Jan. 22 election results.  The countdown is based on voting by our power rankings panel, which includes five Hall voters.
Buster Olney / ESPN:
Buster's Buzz: Red Sox repeat?  Four question marks facing the champs  —  Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora held a morning baseball clinic for a small army of youngsters in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, last month.  Under the rising sun, Cora hoisted a microphone and introduced …
 
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Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Braves plan to hold Chop Fest, ‘rain or shine’   Find
 
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 More News: 
Evan Drellich / NBCSports.com:
Red Sox still need bullpen help in lame offseason
Discussion: Over the Monster
Tom Verducci / Sports Illustrated:
If MLB Implements a Significant Rule Change in 2019, It Will Be a Pitch Clock
Tampa Bay Times:
Rays add former Jays reliever Luis Santos on minor-league deal
Discussion: MLB Trade Rumors
Mark Gonzales / Chicago Tribune:
White Sox to televise six spring training games
Discussion: NBCSports.com
 Earlier Picks: 
Joe Vardon / The Athletic:
Guess who was with LeBron James when Kyrie Irving called to apologize?  Scenes from an Italian restaurant
Steve Adams / MLB Trade Rumors:
Yankees Close To Dealing Sonny Gray
Bobby Nightengale / Cincinnati.com:
With an active offseason, Cincinnati Reds players happy to move on from rebuilding stage
Jesse Rogers / ESPN:
Cubs GM: Giving second chance to Addison Russell ‘was the right thing to do’
 

 
From WeSmirch:

Billboard:
Sony, R. Kelly Agree To Part Ways: Exclusive

Erin Hill / People.com:
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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