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Five down, and counting!

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I realised with a start earlier tonight that today is my fifth anniversary of living in the US. Since then, I've got married, enjoyed a World Series victory, started three websites, two blogs and a business, been involved in one car accident and two court cases, and watched far too many movies of questionable quality. Amazing how time flies by.

Speaking of permanent records, Google now offers a blog search feature, which is fine by me: any new avenue which brings people here has my full support. Though I suspect one or two of them may be somewhat confused, shall we say, given at one point we were #1 when you searched for "Tucson lesbians". This was largely due to my casual rant against Howard Stern a couple of days ago - though I guess by mentioning them again today, I've probably cemented my position as the go-to blog of choice, should Ellen DeGeneres decide to speak at U of A...

The first big deal of the season looks to be looming, with Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell moving from Florida to Boston, in exchange for three players you've probably never heard of before. Of course, if this goes through the Red Sox will have to eat Lowell's bloated $18m/2 year contract to do it and that largely negates much of the benefit Beckett will bring, even if he avoids the frequent DL visits (mostly for blisters) which have plagued him throughout his career. Maybe escaping the humidity of Florida will help in that regard? I dunno.

This may be a good indicator of how the Diamondbacks have to work. "Okay, you can have Javier Vazquez, but you also have to take Luis Gonzalez." Gonzo, of course, has a full, watertight and iron-clad, no-trade clause, but you get the picture. A more credible candidate would be Vazquez and Ortiz, but I can't see any team willing to take both; Glaus + Ortiz might be a more credible package. Also from an Arizona point of view, it probably removes Boston as possible suitors for Vazquez; the bad news is, they strengthened their rotation without dipping into the free-agent pool. Ideally, we would like every free-agent to evaporate tomorrow, leaving Vazquez the only starting pitcher available.

As for the Marlins, it's echoes of 1998, with another fire sale apparently looming. On Fish Stripes, Craig says sadly, "I am beginning to understand why the Marlins hired a minor league pitching coach, it's because that is what the team will consist of next year." Hey, don't fret: it only took six years to bounce back after the last clearout. Of course, this is now the management team which did such an effective and chilling demolition job in Montreal, but I'm still not betting against the Marlins for the 2009 World Series. The Yankees are the sole team with more World Series rings than the Marlins in the past 30 years - and Florida have only been around since 1993.

Vazquez handed over his blacklist of teams; while the full details weren't revealed, the Phillies, Rangers, Rockies and Mariners appear to be four of the six teams, according to sources. Surprisingly, Seattle is apparently the only West-coast team on the list, and the inclusion of Philadelphia also doesn't make much sense, given Vazquez's oft-stated desire to spend less time flying back and forth to Puerto Rico. The Banana reports today that a deal may be close: Byrnes said, "It's very possible something could happen before or during the winter meetings."

Personally, I'd wait until some more free agents have been signed; drive up the market value of those remaining, as teams get more desperate. I'm currently thinking Vazquez will likely end up either with the Orioles or Mets. Both teams need pitching, but I'd have to look harder to see if they have anything we might be interested in getting back.

The same article mentions again that Lo Duca may be signed as a catcher, quoting Lo Duca as saying he "would be interested in playing for Arizona." However, there appears no obvious basis to suggest that the feeling is mutual - that would likely be something to give thanks for as you chew down on your turkey. Or in my case, honeybaked ham; not that I've anything against the fowl, but that ham is perhaps my favourite food of all time. Have a great Thanksgiving, I'll see you on the other side - just as long as I make sure my defibrillator is fully charged... :-)