Fans reject Manny and A-Rod for the right reasons

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There are all kinds of interesting angles to take on the All-Star
rosters that were announced yesterday, and we’ll certainly be getting
to those over the coming days. One of the ones I don’t
think anyone here at CTB would be inclined to take, however, is how the
failure of Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez to make the All-Star team
represented an anti-PED statement by the voters. That doesn’t stop MLB.com’s Mike Bauman, however:

A record 223.5 million votes were cast for the 2009 All-Star Game
selections. Without pandering to the audience, this process had both
quantity and quality. And it was notable not only for which players the
fans elected, but which players the fans did NOT elect . . . In the
latter category, the most prominent names would be Manny Ramirez and
Alex Rodriguez. Both were linked this year to performance-enhancing
drugs. Rodriguez was forced to admit his usage of PEDs . . . The voters
are to be congratulated for not turning a blind eye to these offenses .
. . By omitting this pair, the fans and the players have essentially
taken a stand against the use of PEDs.

That’s one way to think about it. The other way to think about it is to
say that the voters have not turned a blind eye to the fact that Evan
Longoria is a heck of a lot more deserving than a guy who has hit .244
in limited play and that Ryan Braun, Raul Ibanez, and Carlos Beltran
(and Matt Kemp and a bunch of other guys) are all more deserving than a
guy who has played in only 35% of his team’s games this season.

Sure, the fans rejecting the cheaters en masse makes for a
nice story and everything, but it’s not like keeping Manny and A-Rod
out of the All-Star game requires some political statement. Neither is
deserving on the merits and neither made it. Given that, with the large
exception of Josh Hamilton, the fans did a pretty good job with the
votes, I’d offer that their exclusion was a baseball judgment, not a
political one.

Diamondbacks name Dan Haren as pitching strategist

PHOENIX - APRIL 05:  Starting pitcher Dan Haren #15 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches against the San Diego Padres during the Opening Day major league baseball game at Chase Field on April 5, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 6-3.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday afternoon that former major leaguer Dan Haren has been named the organization’s new pitching strategist. The role will include working with the front office, the major league coaching staff, and the analytics department.

Haren, 36, ended his 13-year playing career after the 2015 season. He finished with a 153-131 record and a 3.75 ERA across 2,419 2/3 innings.

Since retiring, Haren has been one of the more enjoyable players to follow on Twitter. He promised to teach his disciples how to tweet as part of his new responsibilities.

Pablo Sandoval is in the best shape of his life

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For a guy who won a World Series MVP Award and has been to a couple of All-Star Games, it’s amazing how many stories have been written about Pablo Sandoval‘s off-the-field exploits compared to his on-the-field exploits. Specifically, stories about his conditioning. Or lack of conditioning. Of him getting into shape, falling out of shape and getting back into shape again. It’s been this way since he emerged as an everyday player in 2009.

And it continues anew:

There is no claim here that Sandoval is, in fact, in The Best Shape of His Life. However, longtime BSOHL fans know that the claim is not about the magic words being used. The idea is that, in the offseason, players with something to prove will routinely make an effort to create the impression that they are a new man. Often it is from claiming that one is in The Best Shape of His Life. Often it comes from surrogates talking about how many pounds of fat one has lost or pounds of pure muscle one has added. Sometimes — as here — it comes in the form of showing post-workout photos.

Whatever the purpose of the photo, Sandoval is certainly looking good compared to where he was last spring:

FORT MYERS, - MARCH 14: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox makes the throw to first on the ground ball from Jason Rogers (not in photo) of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fourth inning of the Spring Training Game on March 14, 2016 at Jet Blue Park at Fenway South, Florida. The Pirates defeated the Red Sox 3-1. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Or at the end of the 2015 season:

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 31: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the Boston Red Sox warms up prior to the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on August 31, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won the game 4-3. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Even if this is part of a plan to get Sandoval some good press heading into the 2017 season, I’m happy to see that he appears to be recovered from shoulder surgery and appears to be taking good care of himself and is thinking about his baseball futrue.

Either way, expect the Panda Weight Watch to continue at Red Sox spring training come February.