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Monday afternoon linkaliciousness

A bunch of things out there this afternoon worthy of note, but maybe not post worthy in and of themselves...

T.R. Sullivan says the Rangers are close on a deal to bring Eddie Guardado back.  There was a lot of hostility to that on a couple of threads on LSB today, but personally, I think the bullpen needs all the help it can get right now, and if you can bring Guardado -- who had a FIP below 4.00 in 2008 -- in on a cheap one year deal to be a LOOGY and bullpen Yoda, that's fine with me.

Kason Gabbard can go into more of a middle- or long-man role, C.J. Wilson can be the 8th inning guy, and there are still plenty of other spots that will need to be filled.

Jeff Wilson says he talked to Jon Daniels and the Rangers continue to talk to free agent pitchers.  The team has talked to Casey Close about Jason Jennings and Ben Sheets, and things appear to be closer on Jennings (who would presumably get a minor league deal with an opt-out clause) than with Sheets, although Wilson suggests the Perez signing should bring some movement.

Rich Lederer goes off on Jon Heyman, calling him "a tool for the Scott Boras Corporation."  That's pretty harsh.

BTB breaks down pitch f/x data on pitches in the dirt by ballpark, and finds that, in 2008, TBIA was by far the ballpark least likely to have a pitched ball end up in the dirt.  Which seems counterintuitive, given TBIA's reputation as a homer-friendly park, and the fact that you'd think pitchers would be more likely to pitch down in the zone.  Anyway, it may well be just statistical noise, but the overall breakdown is kind of interesting to see, with Oakland having the highest likelihood of ball-in-the-dirt-yness.

Over at ESPN, four of the baseball writers are each drafting a 25 man team off of current major leaguers where, using 2009 salaries, each team has a total salary of $40 million or less.  The teams will then square off using the Diamond Mind software. 

The first five rounds are up today, and Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton were both drafted (Josh #4 overall).  Dustin Pedroia went #1, Tim Lincecum #2.

Marc Normandin says pass on Jon Garland in your fantasy baseball draft, because Garland struggled against lefties last season, particularly in terms of home runs allowed, and Arizona is a place conducive to lefty power hitters.  That's also a good reason to be glad he didn't end up in Texas.

The Orioles acquired Rich Hill for a PTBNL, and the Transaction Oracle thinks it is a good pickup, on the theory that Hill will probably suck, but he won't suck that much more than the Orioles other back of the rotation options, and if he doesn't suck, they've got a good pitcher for cheap for several yaers.