Jon Marthaler bakes up a delicious batch of links for you every weekend. Other times, you can find him here. Jon?


I like to think that I'm pretty level-headed about the Twins, and about what's possible and what's not for the team on the free-agent market. I know that the Twins spend conservatively, and will continue to do so, and never will have one of those off-seasons (like the Marlins did last year) when the team attempts to sign virtually every free agent available. Still, though, that doesn't keep me from idly wondering and idly hoping about what things would be like if they did have that kind of off-season, and after awhile the wondering and the hoping combine into a full-blown daydream. Like this:

November 6, MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins announced today that All-Star starting pitcher Zack Greinke has agreed to a five-year contract worth $100 million. "At the end of the day, I couldn't pass up the chance to be in this organization and this area," said Greinke. "This is a great place to play baseball, and I'm delighted to be back in the Midwest."

November 22, MINNEAPOLIS - The Minnesota Twins continued their effort to shore up their starting staff, signing Joe Blanton to a three-year contract. Terms were undisclosed. Said Blanton, "With the team signing Greinke, I knew they were serious about competing for a championship here in Minnesota. I'm excited to be a part of that."

December 1, MINNEAPOLIS - With today's moves, the Twins have effectively completed their 2012 starting rotation, as the team signed Brandon McCarthy and Scott Baker. McCarthy joins for three years, Baker on a one-year, incentive-laden deal. Baker, when reached for comment, spoke in his usual unrecordably soft voice, but mumbled something about being happy.

And so on. Now, to sign those four pitchers would probably cost a combined $35-40 million per year, which is a ridiculous amount of money. And certainly, signing those pitchers - or really, any other set of pitchers, go ahead and pick your own - is no guarantee the Twins would be good. This is a team with major holes on the left side of the infield, and one that's still a pitcher or two short of any bullpen confidence. But still - just once, it'd be nice to be the team that makes a splash. To be the team that pushes in all its chips instead of playing conservatively. To be the team that takes the risk of trying to do too much, rather than the risk of not doing enough.

On with the links:

*Speaking of making a splash, John Bonnes is ready to dump Justin Morneau just for the salary space.

*For hockey fans like me, getting through the lockout days is a tough deal. Thankfully, we have Down Goes Brown to help. This week: good signs and bad signs in the CBA talks, and a flowchart to determine what sport we should all watch in the meantime.

*David Matthews at The Classical visits a Cardinals bar in NYC - after the Cardinals were out of the playoffs.

*I enjoyed Shawn Fury writing about Columbia's football program, mostly for the chance to say, "Huh, I didn't know Columbia even had a football team."

*And finally: I think I enjoy the British media's take on the Yankees more than just about anyone else's.

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