It's encouraging. Two months ago, I couldn't have come out and sat that long and signed, so it's come a long ways. It's not all the way better yet, but it's close.
Obviously the early October talk about maybe having him for the World Series was overly optimistic. On multiple levels.
Tuesday is the deadline for the 35 players ... offered arbitration to accept those offers. Only a few are likely to do so. Among those believed to be considering the offers are Juan Uribe Giants), Orlando Hudson (Twins) and Miguel Olivo (Blue Jays). …
The Hudson notion contradicts the conventional speculation -- I won't elevate it to the status of conventional wisdom -- that he and the Twins have a gentleman's agreement that he'll decline. I don't profess to have any actual knowledge, but I expect him to decline, if only because the Twins have made it clear they don't really want him back. As a free agent, he has considerable control on where he plays in 2011; if he accepts arbitration, he has none.
Speaking of Rogers, I thought his notion last week about of trading Chicago general managers was bizzare, but he was apparently just warming up. This Sunday's column is landing places for Derek Jeter, and it takes some fevered imagination.
Like this sample:
Twins: Because the Twins can't beat Jeter, maybe they can sign him. The Twins aren't crazy about J.J. Hardy, which is why they have negotiated for the rights to talk contract with Tsuyoshi Nishioka, the .346-hitting shortstop of the Chiba Lotte Marines, and have had preliminary talks with the Red Sox about (Marco) Scutaro. Adding a guy with Jeter's presence could be the equivalent of adding a front-line starter, which is the piece that has seemed lacking.
Poll stuff: We had 48 participants in the "who will sign Cliff Lee" poll.
Thirty-eight (79 percent) say the Yankees; eight (16 percent) say Texas; two (4 percent) say someone else.
New poll up.