Happy Friday, all! I hope everyone's close to finishing up their holiday shopping so they can actually relax a bit in the next few days. Is there anyone that doesn't have travel plans within the next two weeks? For me, this will be the first time ever I won't be spending Christmas in Cleveland. Fortunately, there's plenty of baseball news to bring holiday cheer!
Breaking down the Tribe's "quiet" additions | Indians Baseball Insider (Michael Hattery) - Hattery thinks Shaun Marcumhas the potential to provide Kazmir-level performance, if healthy, in part due to the strength of our outfield defense. He also touches on the Drew Stubbs/Josh Outman trade.
Indians optimistic about Axford's return to form - The Tribe FO and Terry Francona are unequivocal about John Axford's role as closer from the start. Hoynsie covers the story with some good quotes from The Ax Man, while Sheldon Ocker's twist focuses on Antonetti's take.
Masterson a solid bet for fantasy teams | Fangraphs (Scott Spratt) - For anyone who was previously wary about drafting Justin Masterson to their fantasy team (nb: DRINK), Spratt details why the Cleveland's most famous Jamaican is a good bet. He speculates Masterson's numbers would have been even better last year were it not for the awful infield defense.
Around the league
Tigers still the team to beat in AL Central | Fangraphs (Jeff Sullivan) - Sullivan with a great piece on why the Tigers can do nothing for the rest of the offseason, but still remain favorites despite taking a marginal step back.
Price still too high for David | CBS Sports (Jon Heyman) - The Rays continue to demand a hefty bounty for David Price. Heyman focuses a lot on the Mariners. Seattle refuses to trade Taijuan Walker but may still be capable of assembling a package that nets Price.
Ethier a good alternative to Choo in the corner outfield | Fangraphs (Jeff Sullivan) - Sullivan is on a roll with another great piece, this time making the case that a trade for Andre Ethier could be a more efficient long-term bet than overpaying for Shin-Soo Choo.
Players born after 1960 woefully under-represented in HoF | Fangraphs (Dave Cameron) - A plea for the BBWAA to follow its own established standards to elect more deserving players.
Baseball to possibly introduce protective headgear for pitchers | MLB.com (John Schlegel) - Talks are still in the works with the MLBPA, but apparently they've tested a product. Brandon McCarthy, who suffered a head injury from a scary line drive last year, says the product will be available based on what he knows.
Balfour deal could fall through after poor physical | NBC Sports (DJ Short) - Grant Balfour has a shoulder issue that puts his signing with the Orioles in "serious jeopardy." That Axford signing looks extra good right now.
LGFTM(anager) Charlie Manuel to take role in Phillies' FO | NBC Sports (DJ Short) - Good to see Charlie sticking around even though he didn't get another manager position.
Analyzing 2013 draft's first-round pitchers | The Hardball Times (Kyle Boddy) - An incredibly detailed analysis, including GIF/video for each player.
Christmas gifts for MLB players | The Hardball Times (Azure Texan) - This is a fun, silly read, and includes a recommendation for Carlos Santana that I don't understand in the slightest.