Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

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

Starting rotation depth, now and then

Reading about Hiroki Kuroda's start yesterday, and watching it on TV, it occurred to me how welcome the Japanese right-hander would've been in Yankees camp a year ago. In light of Cliff Lee opting for the Phillies and Andy Pettitte opting for retirement, Kuroda would have stood as the second starting pitcher, behind only CC Sabathia and ahead of less reliable options like A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon...

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Can the Rangers afford both Yu Darvish and Prince Fielder?

When the World Series pits two non-New York teams against each other, a fairly common occurrence nowadays, it grants we New York reporters an opportunity to better familiarize ourselves with clubs we don't know as well.

There's a good amount of time before first pitch, so you schmooze players, a manager, coaches, front-office officials, owners, mascots and so on.

(Not really mascots....

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Before pitchers and catchers: Prince Fielder, Yu Darvish, Matt Garza and Ryan Braun

PRINCE FIELDER First base, Milwaukee Brewers 2011: 22

(Credit: AP )

Not every team has announced its report dates for pitchers and catchers - the symbolic beginning of spring - but we're basically talking Presidents' Weekend. That marks the spiritual conclusion of the Hot Stove League - if not the actual ending, as a few free agents' cases tend to drag into camp.

That means we have a little less than seven weeks to occupy ourselves before we get live players...

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Yu Darvish, Carlos Beltran, Gio Gonzalez and John Danks

Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish of Nippon-Ham Fighters shouts

(Credit: Getty Images)

Hope that everyone had a good week and good holiday. First, let's catch up. Then we'll discuss what's on tap for this week.

Four big transactions:

1. The Rangers won the rights to Yu Darvish. It's a mild surprise, only because Texas worked so hard in recent weeks to lower expectations on this front not only in the media, but in the baseball world, as well. Just mild, however, because...

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Yu Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the bravado deficit

Japan starter Yu Darvish pitches against South Korea

(Credit: AP)

Time plays tricks with the human memory. I appreciate that.

Having written that, what I recall from five years ago, when the Seibu Lions posted Daisuke Matsuzaka, is the excitement over his impending arrival in Major League Baseball. The electric gossip about who was going to win the bidding for him.

The excitement among Red Sox officials, Mets officials, Rangers officials...heaps of...

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Jose Reyes, Yu Darvish, Jon Niese, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Jeff Luhnow and Bobby Valentine

Just some quick hits this morning, as we have the Rule 5 draft. When that's done, all of the team officials sprint out of the hotel to make their flights.

I'm scheduled to fly out later tonight, so I should have time to post a wrap-up in the afternoon.

--Here's my column on Jose Reyes, who clearly and understandably was hurt by the way the Mets conducted themselves over the last couple...

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Hal Steinbrenner, Yu Darvish, Alex Rodriguez, Sandy Alderson and Frank Francisco

It has been another...day here at the GMs' meetings, which today mophed into the GMs/owners' meetings. The agenda of the actual meetings is more loaded than previous years, according to multiple people, which has led to less work on the baseball operations front.

Fred Wilpon arrived at 11:15 this morning, shook hands of the media members he knew and then said, "You know I have nothing...

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The LCS, Ben Cherington, Yu Darvish and the collective-bargaining agreement

Sorry, this'll be brief. I'm flying to Milwaukee this morning so I can cover tonight's NLCS Game 6 at Miller Park.

--The Rangers eliminated the Tigers in ALCS Game 6 last night, advancing to their second straight World Series. What an amazing story Texas is. To come back after losing Cliff Lee to the Phillies? Pretty darn impressive.

--Back in 2009, I did a blog post titled "Managers...

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