A couple of quick programming notes…We will be back later today for our weekly look at the 2009 roster lineup and payroll projections. After that we will be working on some changes around here. As a result, at some point this weekend, we will be offline for a few hours. Fear not. We think we know what we are doing. If not, and you never hear from us again…well, it has been a fun ride.

DEVIL DOGS WEBTOPIA

  • The Rays avoided arbitration with Grant Balfour, agreeing on a one-year, $1.4 million deal…We had projected The Mad Australian to make $1.2 million in 2009. [Rays Report]
  • Scott Kazmir and JP Howell have accepted invitations to pitch for the US team during the World Baseball Classic. Kazmir will be one of four starting pitchers and Howell is not worried about how the tournament will affect his preparation for the regular season, feeling it may actually help…Despite both players confidence, the Rays have to be concerned. Both pitchers are already dealing with a shortened off-season due to the Rays postseason run. Kazmir is coming off a season in which he battled an arm injury and never felt right with his mechanics. And Howell suffered from a tired arm down the stretch and needed to be benched for long stretches in September. [Tampa Tribune]

“I think it’s good because it may be less games, but the intensity of the games will match [the regular season] more than any spring training game could,” [Howell] said. “So that’s a positive in that it will kind of get your brain going a little bit before April 1, maybe get a little bit of that flow going.”

  • Now that we know Evan Longoria will not be playing for the US in the World Baseball Classic, we have to wonder if Mexico will once again extend an invitation. Longoria made it known that he was contacted “informally” about playing for Mexico but declined the offer because his first choice was to play for the US. [St. Pete Times]
  • The Padres claimed JK Ryu off of waivers feeling he is good enough to compete for a job on their 25-man roster. Ryu had been designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Gabe Kapler. [MLB Trade Rumors]
  • The Examiner previews Scott Kazmir. [Examiner.com]
  • The Rays gave a tour of their new Spring Training home to the media. All reserved seats for the 16 home spring training games have been sold out. [Tampa Tribune]
  • Stacy Long found a video tour of the Rays new spring home. [Biscuit Crumbs]
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