I’m about to head out on a late-night drive to Boston. Before I leave, here are a few notes and links. We’ll start with Major League Baseball’s official announcement of some changes to the offseason.
During both the 2008 and 2009 off-seasons, the Major League Baseball Players Association raised with the Commissioner’s Office certain concerns regarding the operation of the free-agency market. Although the Commissioner’s Office found no evidence that any Club violated the collective bargaining agreement, or otherwise acted improperly, the parties agreed to discuss the concerns of both Players and Clubs to determine whether the process could be improved for both sides.
As a result of those discussions, the parties agreed to make certain procedural changes to the free-agency process for the 2010 and 2011 off-seasons that address the concerns of both parties. The changes include allowing free agents to negotiate with all Clubs at an earlier date, earlier dates for contract tenders and free agent arbitration offers, new protocols regarding public comments regarding free agent negotiations, improved procedures for the transmittal of free agents’ medical records, and a prohibition on including “most favored nations” provisions in Player contracts. Specifically, for the 2010 off-season, the new dates that have been agreed to by the parties are as follows:
– Free agents may negotiate with any Club on midnight of the fifth day after the World Series rather than after 15 days as provided for under our current agreement.
– Clubs must offer salary arbitration to free agents by midnight on November 23 in order to preserve their right to draft pick compensation. Free agent Players must accept by November 30.
– Clubs must tender contracts to Players under reserve by December 2.
The parties intend to evaluate whether these changes improve the process for both Players and Clubs, and discuss them in connection with their upcoming collective bargaining negotiations.
• An important part of getting Kerry Wood: The Yankees simply outbid the Red Sox.  “It ended up being a great move for them and cost us,” Theo Epstein said during a WEEI interview.
• If the Yankees do end up with the Twins in the first round, it’s possible but unlikely Justin Morneau will be back .
• If the Yankees end up with the Rangers in the first round, it’s all but certain Josh Hamilton will be back. 
• Buster Olney says there is speculation that this winter’s market for Carl Crawford will come down to the Red Sox and Angels, not the Yankees.
• Possibly helping Robinson Cano’s MVP chances: Miguel Cabrera is finished for the season. 
• I wrote a little bit about momentum this morning and wrote a little bit more for tomorrow’s paper. Be sure to check out the 2005 report from The Hardball Times about momentum.  I don’t think I’m the first person to cite it when writing about the momentum myth lately.