During the wee hours of yesterday morning Major League Baseball’s free agency period got all real up in here.  Teams are now allowed to negotiate with free agents, and negotiate they will.

Already, we’re hearing rumours that the New York Yankees have contacted Cliff Lee and that the Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to make a splash (and then trade that splash for an underwhelming return).

The rumour mill will be busy producing tonnes of stories over the next few months.  Lies, innuendo, manipulation of the media and evil shark-like tactics will be plentiful.  And that’s just for the clients of Scott Boras.  Heyo!

To keep your head in the game and make sure you don’t get fooled, Sabernomics has debunked a few hot stove myths for your reading pleasure, and MLB Trade Rumours has  compiled a list of some of the more important dates.

  • November 16th-17th – GM Meetings, Orlando, Florida
  • November 23rd – Deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their own free agents
  • November 30th – Deadline for players to accept or decline arbitration offers from their former teams
  • December 2nd – Deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players
  • December 6th-9th – Winter Meetings, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • January 18th – Teams and players exchange salary arbitration figures

Several other media personalities have put together rankings of the available free agents including Keith Law, Ken Davidoff and HardBallTalk contributor Matthew Pouliot, while FOX Sports takes things a bit further by actually predicting where the top free agents will land.  They all basically agree that Cliff Lee is the number one target, while Carl Crawford, Jayson Werth and Adam Dunn sit on the next tier of talent.

And The Rest

Alex Rodriguez and Cameron Diaz are no longer dating, but I’ll continue not caring.

Speaking of which, Brad Penny is going to get married to one of the chicks from So You Think You Can Dance With The Stars, Idol?  See, my disdain for something popular makes me cool!

Dan Uggla has an entirely different opinion of his own worth than the Florida Marlins and anyone else with a shred of common sense.

Edgar Renteria is going to try to outrun the retirement reaper for another season.

The New York Mets continue to go through the motions with Wally Backman, likely wasting both of their time.

Joe Posnanski ranks the weakest World Series winners since 1946.  I’m in shock that the 1988 Dodgers are not on that list.  Seriously, they had only two players on the entire team with more than ten home runs.

The year of the pitcher?  Nope.  Try the year of the improbable.

Baseball Reference looks at the correlation between hitting home runs and getting hit by pitches.

Jose Bautista led the league in pulled ball value, Josh Hamilton did it for hitting straight up the middle, and Adrian Gonzalez comes in first for the highest opposite field value, says The Baseball Analysts.

The Biz of Baseball talks arbitration.

I found this year’s World Series far more entertaining than the last few, which may have had something to do with the average game being 25 minutes shorter.

Finally, the New York Mets took a big step toward becoming the blogosphere’s favourite team when they invited several bloggers to sit in on a conference call to discuss upcoming changes in ticket pricing.  It’s almost as though the Mets have realized that they’re playing baseball in the 21st Century.