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The baseball world descends on Las Vegas this week, as the sport's best and crappiest general managers alike strive to improve their teams for 2009 or beyond or, perhaps for the most adept among them, 2009 as well as beyond. I'll leave you to figure out which of these groups can count Omar Minaya as a member in good standing, but it should be sufficient to say that the Mets' GM has a lot of work to do and, if you believe the reports, he expects to leave the Bellagio at the end of the week with some new players in tow.

I'm going to do my best to keep up with the news and rumors that float around, but if you guys hear something before I do, don't hesitate to write it up as a FanShot or even in the comments. Don't let the fact that I have a day job stand in the way of your rumor-mongering!

At MetsGeek, Alex Nelson begins a positional retrospective series by examining which teams have been the most successful at generating offense from behind the plate. Like Alex, I also would have expected the Mets to be at or near the top of the list, considering the impressive offensive backstops they've featured over the years. Apparently that wasn't enough to overcome the many seasons of utter dreck they had donning the so-called tools of ignorance.

Somehow I missed it, but last week Joe Sheehan played Mets' GM for a day at Baseball Prospectus and put together a pretty reasonable offseason plan. He seems to underestimate how bad Bobby Abreu's defense was last year, but otherwise his plan is sound.

Speaking of defense, FanGraphs has added MGL's Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), which can be found on the sortable stat pages as well as all of the individual player pages going back to 2002. When I found out I almost did this (SFW, but viewer discretion advised).

Mets Tailgate also hashes out his offseason blueprint: Lowe, Fuentes and Dunn. Sign me up.

And in the first deal of the winter meetings, the Tigers have acquired catcher Gerald Laird from the Rangers in exchange for minor league pitchers Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo. Tigers reaction at Bless You Boys.

Baseball trades, rumors and blog coverage - SB Nation MLB Hot Stove