The Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman reports that Arizona has lost out on CF Kenny Lofton (signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers very shortly), a move that will likely increase the chances of Chris Young becoming the Diamondbacks’ center fielder on opening day.

The Reds are supposedly negotiating a new one-year deal with SS/2B Rich Aurilla. Merry Christmas, Cincinnati fans.

The Indians have signed relievers Danny Graves and Steve Karsay. What better way to cope with the loss of Bobby Howry than to bring in a pair of 30-something vets whose combined ERA’s last season totalled nearly 15.00?

Baseball memoribilia hoarder Barry Halper has passed away at the age of 66. Writes the Daily News’ Bill Madden,

Halper caught the baseball collecting bug at age 8 when, hanging out by the players’ gate at Bears Stadium, home of the old Newark Bears of the International League, he was given a uniform jersey of Barney McCosky, one of the Bears’ players. He went on to collect 1,068 uniforms, many of which were kept on a computerized dry cleaning rack in his home.

In all, the Halper collection, which was ultimately sold at auction by Sotheby’s in 1999, contained over 100,000 pieces ranging from the truly historic (Babe Ruth’s famous camel hair coat, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s “black Betsey” bat, the papers of correspondence between Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee on the sale of Ruth in 1919), to the truly bizarre (the rifle Ty Cobb’s mother used to shoot his father, Cy Young’s dentures, and a weather vane that had rested on the roof of a Waterbury, Conn., factory that had once been the home of 19th century Hall of Famer Roger Connor).

Halper was also a limited partner in the New York Yankees (there’s some joke about the word “limited” being particularly apt in that situation, but I’m too tired to go looking for it). His passing reminds me that the NY-Penn League’s New Jersey Cardinals, moving to State College, PA next season, are selling all of last year’s game-worn jerseys for $60 each. The perfect holiday gift for that person who has a computerized dry cleaning rack in his or her home.