News item: The New York Mets have acquired reliever J.J. Putz from the Seattle Mariners in a three-team, 12-player trade that was consummated at last week's winter meetings in Las Vegas.
My take: If J.J. didn't like all the focus I've put on his interesting last name - which he claims is pronounced "puts" instead of "putts" - I suggest he not read the New York Post on the morning after his first blown save.
News item: The Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers today in what has to be the signature showdown of Baltimore's surprising season.
My take: Like the oddsmakers, I like the Ravens by about a field goal in this, the ultimate regular-season credibility test for rookie quarterback Joe Flacco.
News item: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens has become convinced that quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten have conspired to keep him from playing his rightful role as the team's leading receiver.
My take: You know, there might actually be some merit to his suspicion this time, but T.O. has cried wolf so many times that you wouldn't believe him if he were at the zoo.
News item: Record-setting reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who just signed a big contract with the Mets, immediately declared that New York is "the team to beat" in the National League East.
My take: This is not really news to the NL East teams that have found them so easy to beat in September the past couple of years.
News item: There's a report circulating that Manny Ramirez is so unhappy with the interest he has received in the free-agent market that he's considering retirement.
My take: That's a little rash. I'm guessing he'll eventually sign and just take off a game here and there as he did in Boston.
News item: The Cubs and San Diego Padres have ended their attempt to put together a multiteam trade - possibly involving the Orioles - that would have sent pitching ace Jake Peavy to Chicago.
My take: If the Orioles were the third team, they would have sent Garrett Olson to the Padres and the Cubs would have sent outfielder Felix Pie to Baltimore. For the dozens of fans who have written to ask why the Orioles don't just go straight to the Padres and make a deal for Peavy, it's because he has a no-trade clause and no interest in coming to Baltimore.
News item: Davey Johnson has been named manager of the U.S. entry in next year's World Baseball Classic.
My take: I like our chances, and I'm sure Davey does, too. My favorite all-time Davey quote: "I always bet on me."
News item: The Arena Football League, after reportedly deciding to suspend the 2009 season, reportedly has decided to play after all.
My take: The next Kurt Warner was unavailable for comment.
News item: John Daly completed a disappointing opening round of the Australian Open with a 78, but not before he vented his frustration by ripping a camera away from a fan and smashing it against a tree.
My take: Because the fan broke tournament rules by bringing a camera onto the golf course, he apparently won't be getting a new one - or an apology - from either Daly or tournament officials.
News item: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels stoked the rivalry with the Mets when he went on WFAN radio in New York on Thursday and referred to them as "choke artists."
My take: I don't know why Mets fans are so up in arms, since most of them have said the same thing on "The Fan" at some point the past two seasons.
News item: The Orioles did not tender Daniel Cabrera a contract by the Friday night deadline. He is now a free agent after a decade of trying to tap his terrific raw talent.
My take: I'm going to miss him. Say what you want about his inconsistency and inability to reach his seemingly unlimited potential, every start was an adventure.
News item: Former Cubs ace Kerry Wood has signed a two-year, $20.5 million contract to be the closer for the Cleveland Indians.
My take: It's a bold and risky move by Indians general manager Mark Shapiro. Wood has been a medical mystery for a long time.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon most Saturdays and Sundays.