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Monday's Frosty Mug

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Some things to read while acknowledging that these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies may be the greatest ever.

Today's collection of links is actually the largest since the end of the season, so let's get right to it.

If you've been reading the site over the weekend you likely know all of this news, but in case you've been away all weekend, here's what you missed: Now, other stuff. The Fall GM meetings begin today, giving Doug Melvin the first chance to sit across the table from new Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik. Murray Chass seems to think hiring Zduriencik was the wrong decision, mainly because he had a profile of Kim Ng all ready to go. Of course, everyone expects most of the conversation at the meetings to be about Jake Peavy, but it sounds like Hank Blalock's name will come up as well.

One would assume Doug Melvin is at least listening to offers for J.J. Hardy. The Junkball Blues, meanwhile, crunched the numbers to figure out what kind of production would be needed from Hardy and Alcides Escobar to justify moving Hardy to third and Bill Hall out of the lineup.

Planning on making a trip to Vegas? Current odds have the Brewers at 15-to-1 to win the 2009 World Series. The odds would have to get a lot better before I'd be interested. Right now, 15-to-1 is a better shot than 19 other teams have, and tied with the Dodgers and Twins. (h/t Redleg Nation)

Tim Kurkijian says the Sabathia Sweepstakes is the third most interesting story of the offseason. With Sabathia the Brewers had the sixth best starting rotation in all of baseball, according to Beyond the Box Score.

Sabathia, Ray Durham and Russell Branyan all filed for free agency over the weekend, joining these players:

Angels Darren Oliver, Juan Rivera
Athletic Alan Embree
Cub Kerry Wood and also Henry Blanco,
Mariners Raul Ibanez, Willie Bloomquist, Miguel Cairo
Marlins Mark Hendrickson, Arthur Rhodes
Mets Pedro Martinez, Luis Ayala, Tony Armas, Moises Alou, Ricardo Rincon, Ramon Martinez and also Orlando Hernandez
Phillies So Taguchi, Tom Gordon
Pirates Doug Mientkiewicz, Chris Gomez, Jason Michaels, Luis Rivas
Rockies Brian Fuentes, Matt Herges, Livan Hernandez, Adam Melhuse, Scott Podsednik

At this point I feel obligated to remind you that Orlando Hernandez is free to throw the banana for other teams.

FanGraphs has built the All Free Agent Bargain Team. There are some decent players on there, but that team would lose most of the time.

As we look into the future, few things are abolutely certain, but we can say this: despite boatloads of other teams making the exodus from spring training sites in Florida to Arizona, the Red Sox are committed to training in Florida through 2038.

It's a good thing we'll probably have some time to learn to say his name: The Pirates have signed an 18-year-old shortstop from South Africa named Mpho Ngoepe. There has never been a South African player in the major leagues. Have there been any from anywhere in Africa? I do not know.

Indians minor leaguer Randy Newsom's blogs from Venezuela are really making me want to go see a game there.

Finally, let's say you're the Washington Nationals. You lost 102 games in 2008, the franchise's first 100 loss season since 1976. You set a modern era single season record for lowest attendance in a new ballpark. You could count the number of fans listening to your games on the radio or watching them on TV on your fingers and toes. Do you honestly believe people are going to come out in hordes to buy your new jerseys? You're invited to join them at the unveiling Thursday. Bring a friend, otherwise you might be there all alone.

Drink up.