The L.A. Times really wants you to hate Manny Ramirez

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You may not have noticed this given how little coverage it has gotten, but Manny Ramirez is coming back tonight. If you think that means that the media’s hand-wringing and sanctimony about all of this is about to end, well, you’re just not familiar with the media’s work:

I’ve never asked Dodger fans for a favor before, but I have one
request now: When that first home game comes on July 16, for one night,
one at-bat or at least one swing, boo Manny. I’m not asking you to burn
your coveted Man-wig, hide the name on the back of your No. 99 T-shirt
under duct tape or torture yourself by watching Angels games. All I ask
is that if you attend Manny’s first home game, you boo. Once, at least
. . . Dodgers fans should boo Manny for one at-bat to make sure he
knows his actions were unacceptable . . . They need to say to Manny,
“We’re the ones who pay to watch you, and we demand better.”

There are a lot of reasons why newspapers like the Los Angles Times are
dying. Most of them are financial. Let us not discount the notion,
however, that their insistence of treating both their readers and the
subjects they cover like children who are incapable of forming opinions
on their own has a little to do with it too.

Has it not yet, at this late date, after all that has happened,
occurred to the L.A. Times that people like Manny Ramirez and are
willing, no, eager, to overlook his steroid suspension to watch him
play baseball?

UPDATE: It’s important to note that not everyone at
the L.A. Times feels this way. Jon Weisman of the wonderful Dodger
Thoughts blog has consistently delivered the win when it comes to Manny
Ramirez coverage, and his latest entry is no exception.
Note to whoever runs the Times’ sports section: Lead with Weisman and
relegate everyone else to sidebar links with six-point fonts.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.