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. While Cardinals fans fretted over the future of their MVP first baseman this weekend, Cincinnati Reds followers rested easy after hearing that their team and Joey Votto(notes) have agreed to a three-year, $38 million contract that will buy out the reigning MVP's final years of arbitration.  

But given that Votto's presence over the next three years was guaranteed anyway, perhaps this news serves as a sad reminder that they're really not that far away from a Pujols-like reckoning in 2014.

2. Oakland's bullpen looked like it was going to be stellar in 2011 and that was before this weekend's news that the team had agreed to a two-year deal with Brian Fuentes(notes). SF Chronicle 

3. Behold the photographic evidence of a slimmer Pablo Sandoval(notes)! The Splash 

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4. Bruce Chen(notes) is back for another go-round with the Kansas City Royals. Best case scenario: He pitches well enough to become bait at the trading deadline. Royally Speaking 

5. Larry Stone asks a good question: How will the new spring training site for the D'Backs and Rockies affect March attendance for the Mariners and the other teams in the Phoenix area? Seattle Times

6. Ozzie Canseco — the guy who teamed up with his twin brother Jose to hit a total of 462 homers in the major leagues — just got busted for a DUI in Florida. AP

7. Now here's a new advanced metric that might attract fans who are not usually attracted to advanced numbers: BRAWLFENSE. DRaysBay 

8. Heath Bell(notes) spent his Saturday night holding a Q&A with Twitter followers. Among his endorsements were Legoland, Trevor Hoffman's(notes) advice and the Green Bay Packers. (Hey, two out of three ain't bad.) Left Coast Bias 

9. The inaugural "Stephen Strasburg 5K" was held in San Diego over the weekend and the swag bag sounds worth the effort. Runners received "a glossy signed photograph of Stephen Strasburg(notes) in Aztec regalia, two SDSU Baseball admission vouchers, an event t-shirt, a hair trimming courtesy of Sports Clips and the first 1000 participants received two Padres ticket vouchers." Gaslamp Ball

10. "Am I becoming one of them?": A once-diehard Los Angeles Angels fan examines the reasons why he thinks he's becoming a fair weather fan. Halos Heaven 

11. Getting Andy Dolan, Gordon Wittenmyer and Todd Ricketts on the same podcast is now one of my main goals in life. Desipio 

12. Finally, the Phillie Phanatic made a brief appearance on SNL. The 700 Level 

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