Jeff Passan

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Jeff Passan is an award-winning columnist who has covered baseball since 2004. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • Exclusive video: President, first lady marvel at courage in Ken Burns' 'Jackie Robinson'

    Nearly seven decades after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier, the lessons he taught still resonate throughout America – and all the way to the White House. In filmmaker Ken Burns' fascinating exploration "Jackie Robinson," co-directed with Sarah Burns and David McMahon and set to air April 11 and 12 on PBS, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama celebrated the role of not just Robinson but his wife, Rachel.

    In the first clip of the film, shared exclusively with Yahoo Sports, the president and his wife marvel at the courage of Jackie and Rachel, whose experiences as pioneers set a sterling example for the Obamas.

    "I think any time you're involved in an endeavor that involves enormous stress,” President Obama said, "finding yourself questioned in terms of whether you should be where you are, to be able to go back and have refuge with someone who you know loves you and you know has your back – you know, that's priceless."

    During his first season with the Brooklyn

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  • The 2015 Ultimate Free-Agent Tracker

    Here is the free-agent class of 2015-16, ranked from Nos. 1 to 191. The rankings are based on a number of variables, including each player's history, age and potential, and are as much about predicted performance as market value, providing a general outline as free agency unfolds between now and spring training.

    Bookmark this page in your browser or like it on Twitter – and return frequently. As the offseason progresses, Yahoo Sports will update it with news of signings and their impact on the other free agents.David Price and his sub-3.00 ERA will get paid. (Frank Gunn//The Canadian Press via AP) David Price and his sub-3.00 ERA will get paid. (Frank Gunn//The Canadian Press via AP)

    1. David Price, SP: SIGNED Last time a pitcher of David Price’s ilk hit free agency, he was guaranteed $210 million. That was Max Scherzer last season, and by almost every measure Price has been a better pitcher. He’s one of seven with a sub-3.00 ERA since 2010. He has thrown the fourth-most innings in that span. He’s among the top 25 in strikeouts, walks and homers per nine. Price, 30, is as complete as it comes, left-handed and still powerful, with the sort of devastating

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  • Sources: Alex Gordon agrees to re-sign with Royals

    Outfielder Alex Gordon agreed to re-sign with the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday in what’s almost certain to be a franchise-record contract for the defending champions, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    As talks intensified in recent days, the sides were discussing a four-year deal in the low $70 million range, sources said. Never have the Royals guaranteed more than $55 million to a player until Gordon, the 32-year-old left fielder whose sparkling defense and solid bat have made him among the game’s most underappreciated stars.

    Kansas City took Gordon with the No. 2 overall pick in 2005 and over the next decade watched him blossom from third-base bust to left-field standout. Since his breakout season in 2011, Gordon has hit .281/.359/.450 and won four Gold Gloves. His steadiness in the middle of the Royals’ lineup buoyed the team as it integrated a young core and set the stage for the team’s first championship in 30 years.

    Gordon’s deal could break the dam on free-agent outfielders,

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  • Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens inch closer to Hall of Fame inductions

    Slowly, improbably, the tide is turning and the Baseball Writers Association of America is seeing the valley of its illogic. This year, it’s a legitimate, substantial jump. Next year, a likely leap into a majority. And after that, perhaps the rolling snowball turns into an avalanche that sweeps Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens into their rightful place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

    Barry Bonds (Getty Images)Barry Bonds (Getty Images)The Hall reveals the results of balloting at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday, and the only sure thing is Ken Griffey Jr. waltzing into Cooperstown. Momentum – and exit polling – are in Mike Piazza’s favor. Jeff Bagwell could sneak in past the 75 percent threshold. And Tim Raines is close enough that he should book a ticket to upstate New York for July 2017.

    Amid it all are the suddenly ascendant candidacies of Bonds and Clemens, steroid pariah Nos. 1 and 2. Their first two years on the ballot were thought to have been a litmus test, and the results were more acidic than alkaline. Bonds received 34.7 percent in

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  • Buddy Hield's defining outing isn't enough for Oklahoma in epic battle of No. 1s

    LAWRENCE, Kan. – About 50 minutes after the performance of his life, a go-for-broke, put-you-on-my-back, 46-point tour de force, Buddy Hield emerged from the Oklahoma locker room looking like a man who needed nothing more than the warm embrace of a comfortable bed and a welcoming pillow. From his neck dangled a slim chain. At the bottom, encrusted in diamond dust, hung a star.Buddy Hield reacts as Jayhawks celebrate during Oklahoma's loss. (Getty)Buddy Hield reacts as Jayhawks celebrate during Oklahoma's loss. (Getty)

    To call Hield anything else would deny what he’d done in the preceding three hours, three of the finest ever played here at Allen Fieldhouse, where for 60 years they’ve hosted basketball games. For 53 minutes on the court, over a full regulation and three overtimes, Hield confounded the Kansas Jayhawks and turned the rarest of rare games – a No. 1-vs.-No. 1 matchup, pitting the top team in the AP poll (Kansas) against that of the coaches (Oklahoma) – into a personal showcase. And then came the final minute of the best regular-season college basketball game in years, the one Buddy Hield owned until he didn’t.

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  • Aroldis Chapman traded to Yankees amid domestic violence claim

    Aroldis Chapman (AP Photo)Aroldis Chapman (AP Photo)The New York Yankees traded for closer Aroldis Chapman on Monday, shunting aside concerns about an ugly domestic violence incident that could lead to a long suspension and banking on the success of a bullpen that already includes ace relievers Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances, a source familiar with the deal told Yahoo Sports.

    Chapman, 27, is the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball history, regularly topping 100 mph with his left-handed fastball, setting strikeout-rate records and racking up 145 saves over the last four seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. After a deal sending Chapman to the Los Angeles Dodgers fell apart during the Winter Meetings amid the Yahoo Sports report of the incident in Chapman’s Florida home, the Reds regrouped, assessed the market and acquired four minor league players from New York.

    Right-handed starter Rookie Davis and third baseman Eric Jagielo are the main return for Cincinnati, along with right-handed reliever Caleb Cotham – who pitched for a short time

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  • Meet the artist who's on the cusp of being a major league pitcher

    Blake McFarland with his award-winning full-sized cougar. (Courtesty of Blake McFarland)Blake McFarland with his award-winning full-sized cougar. (Courtesty of Blake McFarland)All of it started because of an ugly painting. Blake McFarland was going to junior college, living at his parents’ house in San Jose, and every day he walked by the rendering of a koi fish he thought particularly awful. McFarland told his mom, Terryl, he could do better, even though he never had painted.

    “I kind of just wanted to see what it was like,” McFarland said, and that inherent blend of curiosity and competition happens to have served him well beyond the acrylic-on-canvas ocean scene he created and sold to one of Terryl’s friends for $50. It guided McFarland from football to baseball, from painting to prize-winning art made of recycled tires and, he hopes, from the depths of the minor leagues to Toronto, where he could find himself this season after one of the unlikeliest ascents in recent years.

    These days, McFarland whiles away his charmed life on St. Maarten, where he swims in the Atlantic Ocean and catches fish with a spear gun and counts down the days until Feb. 21, when

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  • White Sox get All-Star Todd Frazier as part of three-team deal

    Todd Frazier is one of the best third basemen in baseball. (Getty Images)Todd Frazier is one of the best third basemen in baseball. (Getty Images)

    The Chicago White Sox acquired All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier from Cincinnati in a three-way trade that sent the Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers a trio of prospects each Wednesday, continuing the White Sox’s rebuild-on-the-fly, the Reds’ dismantling and the Dodgers’ hoarding of young assets.

    Frazier, 29, heads to Chicago two years before free agency and slots into the middle of a revamped lineup with Brett Lawrie (who will shift to second base), Alex Avila and Dioner Navarro to complement Jose Abreu, Adam Eaton and Melky Cabrera.

    The Reds received infielder Jose Peraza, outfielder Scott Schebler and utilityman Brandon Dixon. Peraza, a speedy shortstop/second baseman, is the main return – and was the centerpiece of the proposed deal that almost saw Cincinnati trade closer Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers during the Winter Meetings. With the Reds not keen on the prospect package the White Sox were offering, the Dodgers jumped in to the deal and were happy to take the three from Chicago.

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  • Johnny Cueto to sign with Giants for $130 million

    The San Francisco Giants bet big that Johnny Cueto is more World Series hero than late-season goat, agreeing to sign the best remaining free-agent pitcher on the market for six years and $130 million, a source familiar with the contract told Yahoo Sports on Monday afternoon.

    Cueto, 29, vacillated between brilliance and implosion after a trade-deadline deal to the Kansas City Royals thrust him into the playoff crucible. His final game with Kansas City was his best, a complete-game two-hitter in Game 2 of the World Series that erased an ALCS implosion and showcased the excellence he had shown for half a decade.

    With the Cincinnati Reds, Cueto grew into one of the game's most consistent starters, his ERA starting with a "2" for four consecutive years and his innings total typically topping 200. The right-hander, signed by the Reds out of the Dominican Republic, was eyeing a monster payday all season and landed it with the aggressive Giants. He got it, as well as an opt-out clause after

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  • Coast Guard crew reflects on time with Yasiel Puig during attempt to defect to U.S.

    This story is part of a weeklong Yahoo series marking one year since the opening of relations between the United States and Cuba.

    It was time for a boat chase, the sort they craved. Months idling on the open seas left those aboard the Vigilant, a United States Coast Guard cutter, thirsting for action, and in the middle of April 2012, here it was. Somewhere in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti, a lookout on the top deck spotted a speedboat in the distance. "I’ve got a contact," he said, and for Chris Hoschak, the officer on deck, that meant one thing: Get a team ready.

    He summoned Colin Burr, who had just qualified to drive the Coast Guard's Over the Horizon-IV boats that hunt bogeys in open water space. Before boarding, Burr and four others mounted up: body armor, gun belts and a cache of guns in case it was drug smugglers, which everyone figured because go-fast boats tend to traffic product instead of humans.

    The chase didn't last long. Maybe five or 10 minutes. Turned out

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