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What's that smell coming from the Stove?

Finally a hard figure, $52 million, has been sent down as the cap to the Rockies payroll next season, at least that's the number reported by Troy Renck. What this means according to the article in the Post is that the Rockies will have to be a little lucky to get Dave Roberts to fit in that slot given what they are already going to have to pay the rest of the team, hence the whole idea that the slot could instead be filled via trade or by signing really old or worthless crap.

Besides tossing out one more interesting name in the bullpen mix that I can say with 98.7% certainty won't be coming (Eric Gagne), this story also goes into specifics in the other areas the team is looking. The article is the first to actually bring up specific names in the catcher derby, the two it mentions are Rod Barajas (not going to happen) and Geronimo Gil (perfect, he's awful, we'll take him!). Also mentioned are three possible fifth starters, Josh Fogg, Bruce Chen, and our old friend John Thomson. I hope for the last, obviously because I'm a sap and all for nostalgia. That or just keep Fogg. Chen I'd avoid. Seriously. Stay away from the Bruce.

Going back to the center field conundrum, reading reports out of Chicago, lately really makes me wonder if we can make a cheap play for Scott Podsednik. He'd be a poor defensive version of Cory Sullivan with a better OBP and better baserunning. He has no power to speak of, but his skills translate well to the top of the order and he's only set to make around $3 million this season. The problem is his reputation exceeds his actual value and the Sox might not give him up for a fair exchange. The article makes it sound as if the Sox are set on giving Brian Anderson one more chance, and they aren't going to give up Ryan Sweeney for cheap. If only Cory was a little better at drawing walks or smarter on the basepaths, and then I wouldn't even have to consider this atrocity as he'd be the better overall player at that point.

Speaking of atrocities I might not have to consider: apparently the Angels have interest in bringing Darin Erstad back but went ahead and gave Adam Kennedy his walking papers. Here's the key part that seems to separate us from them:

Erstad, meanwhile, is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle last month after hitting .221 in just 40 games last season. Stoneman said there is "no way at this point" to say how the surgery will affect Erstad's ability to play the outfield on a daily basis, but the 32-year-old is expected to draw interest from the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies among others on the free-agent market.

Stoneman indicated any offer from the Angels won't come until much later in the offseason after Erstad's recovery can be better gauged and other pieces of the offseason puzzle have been put together.

So the Angels aren't sure if he's able to play in the outfield every day... going to wait until late before offering a contract to make sure he's alright... it almost makes sense...

On the divisional front, pretty much all of our rivals are apparently interested in Mark Mulder, and a Boston paper thought the D-backs could be a bidder for Keith Foulke.