Big League Stew - MLB

Duk's Dozen, a selection of 12 morning-fresh links and items, has returned in 2011 to start your baseball news day off right. Got links? Send 'em here or via Twitter.  

1. Of all the dog-and-pony free-agent press conferences we've had this offseason, nothing comes close to watching New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman go all Tony Stark against the Rafael Soriano(notes) signing on Wednesday.

Honestly, when's the last time you've ever seen any boss — and not just in pro sports — shrug his shoulder and say "meh" on someone's first day on the job?

Said Cashman:

"This certainly will help us try to win a championship, there's no doubt about that, so that's in the plus column. But I didn't recommend it, just because I didn't think it was an efficient way to allocate the remaining resources we have. We had a lot of debate about that."

There were more quotes where that came from and the New York media is already taking full advantage of the Cashman vs. Steinbrenner/Levine throwdown. Can you imagine what it's going to be like if Soriano doesn't perform well out of the gate? The scapegoats for the 2011 season have already been selected. MLB

2. A source tells Danny Knobler that the divide between Cashman and the Tampa brain trust (heh) is growing and that some of last year's moves — Javier Vazquez(notes), Randy Winn(notes), etc. — damaged his reputation within the organization. CBS Sports

3. And it's not just the brass that's ticked with Cashman: Lisa Swan is annoyed at the way that Cashman has pursued — or not pursued — Andy Pettitte(notes) this winter. Subway Squawkers

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4. Dustin Pedroia's(notes) mouth is already in midseason form. Red Sox Monster

5. Casey Close, agent for players like Derek Jeter(notes) and Ryan Howard(notes) and a former Wolverine teammate of Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo, is being inducted into the University of Michigan's sports hall of fame this weekend.

6. "Joe Crede's back!": Thankfully that phrase now signifies more than just a chronic injury that kept the third baseman out of baseball in 2010. Crede has signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies. I'll be rooting for him this spring. FanGraphs

7. Great news: One of my favorite San Francisco Giants blogs is back. Golden Gate Giants

8. So if Armando Galarraga(notes) and the Detroit Tigers go to arbitration, do they argue over whether or not he threw a perfect game last season? Tigers Den Blog

9. Some old "This Week In Baseball Videos" from 1988? Yes, please. Amazin' Avenue

10. "An Exhaustive History of Walkoff Walks During the Existence of Walkoff Walk"
Walkoff Walk

11. "Sabeardmetrics": A qualitative analysis of how beards have positively affected players like Jayson Werth(notes) and Brian Wilson(notes). Fantasy Baseball 101 via SOSG

12. Finally, I took advantage of this slow time in baseball to moonlight a bit on our NFL page and write about this weekend's NFC championship. Bear down. Yahoo! Sports

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