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News Roundup

-P- Jeff Bagwell will retire this week. Bagwell finishes his career with 429 homers and a .408 on-base percentage. He'll have a borderline case for Hall of Fame induction - due to his good-guy image, I imagine he'll get in eventually, despite putting up his best numbers in an offense-crazy era. His list of comparable players at Baseball Reference includes five Hall of Famers out of ten, plus two more (Frank Thomas and Gary Sheffield) who are pretty likely to get in. Fun fact: Bagwell was actually a member of the 30/30 club, in 1999. Because of the way he ended his career, it's pretty easy to forget that he was once a pretty athletic player. Happy trails, Jeff.

-P- The Rangers have agreed to one-year deals with Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton. Lofton, who costs $6 million, is an excellent alternative to paying Juan Pierre or Gary Matthews $40 million or more. Lofton is likely to be better than Pierre and maybe marginally worse than Matthews for a far smaller price and a far smaller commitment. Gagne also gets around $6 million, plus up to about $5 million in performance bonuses. I'm not sure how likely this deal is to work out given Gagne's extensive injury history, but he obviously has an enormous impact when he's healthy. This is a good pair of moves by Texas.

-P- Miguel Batista has agreed to sign with the Mariners for three years and $27 million (this article says $24 million, but it's apparently actually $27 mil). I'd much rather have Adam Eaton or Vicente Padilla for the similar prices they signed for - Batista is 35, and anyway he's better suited to a more homer-friendly park, where is groundball-throwing ways would benefit him more.

-P- The Tigers' infatuation with former Pirates continued yesterday as they signed Jose Mesa to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Mesa had a surprisingly decent ERA last year in Colorado, but he had miserable peripherals and is probably only worthy of a minor-league deal at this point. Whatever - maybe I just hate Mesa so much that I can't look at this objectively.

-P- The Orioles signed Jay Payton to a two-year, $9.5 million deal. As with so many moves the Orioles make, this one is boring. You can't seriously upgrade a crappy team by signing the likes of Payton, Jamie Walker, Danys Baez and Kevin Millar.

-P- Jeff Cirillo has agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Twins. This could quietly be a bargain for Minnesota - Cirillo has now been useful in two consecutive years with the Brewers. By the way, Cirillo's career numbers, if you haven't seen them recently, are really bizarre. He was excellent in his first stretch with Milwaukee, then joined the Rockies and played much worse. However, his decline was masked by his home park, so the Mariners stupidly signed him to what was at the time a huge three-year contract. Cirillo was just awful, one of the worst players in baseball, for the length of that contract, but he stuck in the majors almost until the end of it, precisely because it cost so much money. The Padres released him in August 2004 as the contract came to an end, but he signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers in early 2005 and has been surprisingly decent since then. If not for that enormous contract, Cirillo probably would be out of baseball right now - he would've been considered completely done, and for good reason.