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News and Notes: Francisco Lindor excited for World Baseball Classic

Please don’t get hurt...

MLB: World Series-Chicago Cubs at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s to a week of Christmas cards, lousy weather, and plenty more trade and signing rumors!

Around the League

Lindor excited for World Baseball Classic

Are the Red Sox baseball’s new ‘Evil Empire?’

Whatever the Boston Red Sox need or want, the Boston Red Sox seem to get these days. As a result, Peter Gammons, he of the long-time Boston connections, suggested that the Red Sox now represent everything they used to hate about the New York Yankees. [Yahoo Sports]

Andrew McCutchen is still on a potential Hall-of-Fame track

Some optimistic rest-of-career comps for the Pittsburgh outfielder. [Point of Pittsburgh]

Tigers promised ‘changes,’ but have little to show for it

So what’s really going on over in Detroit. From Ashley MacLennan:

“Changes are coming,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said at his year end press conference in October. Avila talked so much that fans were worked into a frenzy, expecting this to be the year that the Tigers cleaned out their clubhouse and sold all the cash-heavy players, getting leaner and younger in hopes of competing a few years down the road. Then he went into the MLB winter meetings talking about how the team might be willing to exceed the luxury-tax amount after all, and people started thinking this might be a year for the Tigers to buy big again. Ultimately, he said he wasn’t surprised they’d done nothing.

If Avila wants to compete in the long run, he should have sold more aggressively. And if he wants to compete this year, he should have pursued solutions to plug the gaps. Avila said, “Status quo looks good, but overall it might not be the best decision. That’s why we’re going into the winter with an open mind and see what changes we can make.” Except the status quo seems to be precisely where he’s standing.

He’s said things are going to be different, but right now the only difference fans are able to see is that where Dombrowski was a silent man of action, Avila is a guy with a lot to say but very little to show for it. [Bless You Boys]

Jonathan Papelbon not focused on signing with a new team

The reliever is coming off another tumultuous year on and off the field. [Hardball Talk]

The New CBA, by the numbers

A great breakdown of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. [Baseball Prospectus]