Sammy Sosa is going to be waiting a while

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Last week, Sammy Sosa said that, following his retirement, he would “calmly wait” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The headline from a weekend story in the Chicago Tribune: “Sammy Sosa
gets reluctant Hall nod from most.” That isn’t from most Hall of Fame
voters, mind you, just most of the eight Hall of Fame voters who happen
to work for the Tribune. And, as the headline suggests, the support isn’t exactly strong:

Until there’s significant evidence he cheated, Sosa gets my wobbly
vote . . . No, no, a thousand times no . . . we still don’t know any
more about the steroid suspicions surrounding Sosa, which were
circulated merely based on the “eye test” of fans and media.
Fortunately, we will have another four years to uncover any possible
revelations regarding Sosa and others . . . You can’t disqualify Sosa
using those guidelines. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t cheat. Just
that he did it better than some others . . . I’m calling for a separate
wing for the Hall of Fame for candidates like Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry
Bonds, Manny Ramirez and others who have been suspected of bulking up
with improper chemicals . . . The answer now is a yes vote, but we have
four years to have our minds changed, thank goodness . . . Obviously,
suspicions about Sammy Sosa also exist, and he never quite has
addressed them, but as he continues to work on his English over the
next four years, we should feel confident that he will provide a
clearer picture of how he did what he did.

If that’s the kind of sentiment that comes from the guys who covered
Sosa for this defacto hometown newspaper for so many years, we can only
guess that the sentiment against him among the other Hall of Fame
voters is going to be much stronger.

Not that this is particularly shocking. At least no more shocking
than the fact that one newspaper gets eight Hall of Fame votes.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.