Rick Morrissey knows a non-roider when he sees one

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Stellar Hall of Fame reasoning from Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times:

Dawson, who played 11 years with Montreal and six with the Cubs, was
wiry strong his entire career. He looks very much the same today–the
same ridiculously skinny waist holding up the same solid upper body. He
had one season that popped out–49 home runs and 137 runs batted in to
win the 1987 most valuable player award while a Cub–but never put
together a string of seasons with outrageous power numbers.

I love this. With some players — usually players the writer doesn’t like all that much — we’re told we’re supposed to be skeptical of fluke seasons.  Big spike in his home run total?  ‘Roider!!  Now,
however, when there’s a player the writer likes, we’re supposed to be skeptical
only of sustained power numbers and let the flukes lie. This is nonsense.

Look, I’m not accusing Andre Dawson of taking steroids. I don’t get
in the business of accusing anyone of doing steroids unless and until
there is actual evidence out there. So even if there were whispers about Dawson — which there are not, and to be honest, I highly doubt he ever touched the stuff — I’d ignore them unless and until someone actually put some evidence on the table.

But the point is, Morrissey doesn’t know that Andre Dawson didn’t do steroids, just like he doesn’t know all of the players who have taken PEDs.  There could be a steroid user in the Hall of Fame as we speak. We could elect one next year.  We have, and always will have, imperfect information on the subject, and in my mind, that renders the “well, he never did steroids” argument to support someone’s Hall of Fame candidacy ridiculous. Don’t presume guilt. Don’t presume innocence. Don’t presume at all. Punish the confirmed users if you wish, and stop speculating one way or the other about the personal use (or not) for those for whom we do not have the information. How hard is that?

Not that Morrisey cares about reason or fairness, as evidenced by the sense of dictatorial entitlement with which he views his Hall of Fame vote:

The civil libertarians might argue that without hard proof of
steroid abuse, those players should be allowed into the Hall of Fame.
But that’s the great thing about the Hall: You vote your conscience,
not the preponderance of evidence. And in the public square, we all get to be judge, jury and unfeeling despot. Somebody hand me my riding crop.

If you think this “I know better than the evidence” attitude is limited to steroids, you’re dreaming.  Morrissey and like-minded voters simply know a Hall of Famer when they see one. QED. 

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is reportedly trying to trade Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe

Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.

Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.

Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.

Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.

Video: Statcast’s 10 longest home runs from 2015

Giancarlo Stanton
AP Photo/Joe Skipper

Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.

It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with MLB.com’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …