Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Offseason winners and losers: American League

Yes, it's that time of year. There still are some interesting names out there on the free-agent market, but it's time to assess who did what.

As always, we divide our teams (let's do just the American League today) into four categories: Winners, winners with downside, losers with upside and losers.

Here we go:

WINNERS

1. Tampa Bay. As usual. The Rays didn't give up any of...

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Ryan Braun, Gary Carter, Kevin Long, Alex Rodriguez, Rick Peterson and Bobby Valentine

RYAN BRAUN, right fielder The 2011 NL MVP

(Credit: Getty Images)

Thanks to all who attended last night's BBWAA New York chapter dinner in midtown Manhattan. It's always good to see Jim there.

It was a rather eventful evening, to steal the word my Newsday colleague Laura Albanese used. Ryan Braun spoke publicly for the first time since news broke of his failed test for illegal PEDs. As Albanese wrote, Braun - while never specifically addressing the allegations...

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Comment Winter Olympics: SOPA, the big Yankees trade and the Mets trial

First of all, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. Very much appreciated.

OK, now it's time for our weekly (or so) medal ceremony. The judges have been working diligently to select their three winners.

Here are those winners:

--The bronze goes to Islander505, who responded to my analogy comparing Rangers officials to "Seinfeld's" Elaine Benes, when...

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The Yankees' internal and external DH calculations

In 2008, Montero was invited to spring training

(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)

Brian Cashman has been the Yankees' general manager for nearly 14 full years now, the last six as the bona fide head of baseball operations following eight years of Steinbrenner-esque chaos. At this point, we all have a pretty good feel for how he operates when there's a void to fill.

In dramatically filling one void late last week, adding Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda to the Yankees' starting...

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Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, Bud Selig, Fred Wilpon, Ryan Madson and Barry Larkin

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Michael Pineda reacts after

(Credit: AP)

While I was gallivanting at a super-secret location, Anthony Rieber earned his salary covering a very busy baseball week. So let's play our favorite winter blog game - catch up - and check in on all of the major happenings.

We'll go in reverse chronological order:

Friday: The Yankees acquired Michael Pineda and Jose Campos from Seattle in return for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi, and...

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Joe Girardi's post-mortem

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi speaks during

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

By my count, there were 31 questioners, many asking multiple and/or follow-up queries, and the session lasted right around 37 minutes.

Not much of interest was said in that time, however. There was too much talk for my liking about how much of a factor luck plays in the postseason, and about whether players are truly clutch or tighten up or whatever.

Yawn. The Yankees played five games...

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Freddy Garcia, Jesus Montero, the Red Sox, the races and Jose Reyes

We have new playoff brackets:

AL: Yankees (1) vs. Detroit (3), Texas (2) vs. Boston (4)

NL: Philadelphia (1) vs. Arizona (3), Milwaukee (2) vs. Atlanta (4)

Thoughts: The Rangers' victory over Seattle, combined with Detroit's loss to Baltimore, flip-flopped the AL's two and three seeds. And it begs the question for the Yankees: Whom would they rather face?

Your first reaction...

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Bartolo Colon, Jorge Posada, Russell Martin, Chris Capuano and Manny Ramirez

After Bartolo Colon's start last night, it's more evident than ever that his tank is on E, isn't it? Gosh. What do you do with him? See if he can help out of the bullpen for the playoffs? Just thank him and wish him luck in the upcoming WWE season?

At this point, the Yankees' best choice for a Game 3 starting pitcher seems to be... Phil Hughes? If he gets healthy. Game 4, for the second round?...

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Should Jorge Posada be on the Yankees' postseason roster?

JORGE POSADA Catcher/DH, Yankees 2011: .235, 14 HR,

(Credit: Jim McIsaac)

So the Yankees are the American League East champions, and in true storybook fashion, Jorge Posada delivered the game-winning hit.

As we now look forward to the Yankees' postseason, a story from their past comes to mind.

(Sorry. That's often the case here. I'm getting old, and my memory, knock on wood, is still all right.)

The 2001 Yankees went into the playoffs with choices to...

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September Monday, Part I

Yes, it's time to kick off this annual feature, which we start a week after Labor Day and runs every Monday through the end of the regular season. 

In other words, this Monday and the next two.

Why? Because this is crunch time, spiritually. The weather is cooling, football is here, the kids are back in school and every game involving a team (or teams) on the bubble feels huge.

First,...

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