Already/Not Yet  Yet again, the Cubs find themselves caught up in the offseason rumor mill, this time regarding a deal for free agent starter Anibal Sanchez. Thursday afternoon, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted that the Cubs had signed Sanchez to a 5-year $75M contract. However, it soon became clear that the deal was not yet final, and that Sanchez and his agents were still waiting for an offer from Detroit. Read between the lines and it seems that Nightengale might just be a pawn in the hands of Sanchez’s agents, helping to accelerate the final stage of negotiations (you can see how the whole story unfolded here). It won’t be great if the Cubs whiff on another nearly-done deal, but by the time you read this Friday morning, the waiting game might be over. Regardless of how it turns out, a potential rotation made up of some combination of Garza, Sanchez, The Dread Pirate Samardzija, Wood, Baker, and Feldman would be a significant upgrade over the broken-down journeymen and unskilled apprentices the Cubs trotted out to the mound last season. (Check back throughout the day for any updates.) UPDATE: And to no one’s surprise, the deal fell apart.

Every Last Dime  Earlier this week, I told you Ryan Dempster had turned down a 2-year, $25M offer from the Red Sox and a $26M offer from the Royals. Speculation at the time was that he believed a third year was out there somewhere, and I said I thought he was getting bad advice. I stand corrected, as he and the Red Sox announced an agreement for a 2-year, $26.5M deal Thursday. And you know what? Good for Dempster–hats off to him for capitalizing on one of the best years of his career, and holding out for the maximum in what is most likely his last pro contract. I wish him all the best, unless he happens to take the mound against the Cubs this season.

Bat Collecting  It seems Angels’ owner Arte Moreno has a thing for aging power hitters. He added another one Thursday with the signing of Josh Hamilton. Stealing the slugger away from the rival Rangers with a 5-year, $125M deal should help the Angels re-establish their dominance in the AL West, adding another big bat to an already formidable lineup. And in an offseason when they’ve already missed on James Shields and Zach Greinke, things are quickly getting desperate for the Rangers.

Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now  Andy Reid’s farewell tour with the Eagles made another stop in Philadelphia Thursday night against the Bengals. The Eagles turned the ball over five times in the 34-13 rout. Like most of you I’m sure, I didn’t watch a second of this game–another in a stretch of forgettable Thursday night games.

A Few (Race) Cards Short Of A Deck  Another very stupid thing was said on ESPN’s First Take Thursday morning. I’m starting to wonder if these guys prep for the show with a combination of sleep deprivation, moonshine, and that bat-spin party game that no one really likes to play.

Lousy Ways To Go  A Fort Worth man died after the garbage can he was sleeping in was dumped into a trash compactor–but not immediately. In Chicago, a man died after climbing to the roof of the of the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue to take some pictures. He fell into the chimney and descended some twenty feet down before he was wedged in a bend in the chimney, suffering severe burns. It took several hours for firefighters to extricate him, and he was able to call and text his girlfriend during the ordeal before he finally asphyxiated.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up  A man already serving consecutive life sentences devised and put into motion a plan to kidnap, castrate, and murder Justin Bieber. Yup, you read that right.

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