The party hasn't started until Canseco shows up

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I’m surprised it took him a day to find a microphone.  Anyway, you’ve been right more than you’ve been wrong about this Jose, so you’re probably entitled to a few minutes of the floor:

“I’ve got no problems with a few of the things he’s saying, but again,
it’s ironic and strange that Mark McGwire denies that I injected him
with steroids. He’s calling me a liar again.  I’ve defended Mark, I’ve said a lot of good things about him, but I can’t believe he just called me a liar. There is something very strange going on here, and I’m wondering what
it is. I even polygraphed that subject matter, that I injected him, and
passed it completely. So I want to challenge him on national TV to a
polygraph examination. I want to see him call me a liar under a
polygraph examination.”

Maybe Canseco is telling the truth about this, but allow me to ask: does anyone, even the most passionate anti-steroid crusader, care about the specific mode of injection?  I’m willing to live with a half-truth regarding one man injecting another in a bathroom stall. Aren’t you?  And I think Jose said too much with the national TV thing. His biggest weakness in all of his truth telling is that he’s been seen as being far more interested in making a buck and getting attention out of it than in doing what’s right for baseball.  He pretty much admits that here.

Canseco is also miffed at La Russa’s claim that he didn’t know McGwire did steroids until yesterday:

“That’s a blatant lie.  Tony La Russa was quoted as
saying that I was using steroids back then, and I was talking about it
in the clubhouse, openly. That’s a blatant lie. There are
some things here that are so ridiculous, and so disrespectful for the
public and the media to believe. I just can’t believe it. I’m in total
shock. These guys remind me of politicians that go up and just lie to
the public and expect to get elected.”

I’m with Canseco here. La Russa had one of the most steroid-happy locker rooms around, in two cities no less, with the most brazen user of them all in Canseco under his supervision.  He has always played dumb and no one has ever taken him to task over it.  If a manager is as ignorant about what goes on in his clubhouse as La Russa claims to have been he wouldn’t be able to fill out a lineup card because the players would be total strangers to him. Good for Canseco for saying this. I wish someone who wasn’t such a freakshow would repeat it.

Canseco also hates having to defend himself over all of the claims he has made:

“I’m tired of justifying what I’ve said. I’ve
polygraphed, I’ve proven that I’m 100 percent accurate. I never
exaggerated. I told it the way it actually happened. I’m the only one
who has told it the way it actually happened. Major League Baseball is
still trying to defend itself. It’s strange. All I have is the truth,
and I’ve proven that.”

To my knowledge, nothing Canseco has said has been proven wrong. At least nothing major, so he has a point.  Still, as all of today’s outrage over McGwire’s apology makes plain, to most of the media and to a certain vocal brand of fan, it’s not what you say, it’s how and why you say it.

McGwire catches hell for only apologizing because he wants a job and for not following the specific remorse regimen that the public allegedly demands. By the same token, Canseco only came out with his steroids stuff when he was at the end of his career, found himself in desperate financial straits and needed to make some money.  It’s a free country, so he can do what he wants along those lines, but he shouldn’t act surprised when he’s not embraced with open arms.

Finally, Canseco takes on the Hall of Fame:

“This is
far from over. There’s a list out there of [103] players. The last five
to eight years there may have been some players elected to the Hall of
Fame that were on that list. Nonetheless, if that list is not divulged,
there will continuously be players who are inducted into the Hall of
Fame who will probably be on that list.”

I wonder if this isn’t some backtracking on Canseco’s part. He has said in the past that there is definitely someone in the Hall of Fame who has used steroids. I agree that the odds favor a PED user in Cooperstown, but Canseco has always acted like he’s known the player’s name. Now it sounds like maybe he doesn’t.

Oh well. I think my headline is wrong here. Canseco showing up doesn’t represent the start of the party. At least not anymore. He’s now more like the fat lady singing. He may have hit the right notes a few times here — but it’s over. What else more is there to say?

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

AP Photo/Ben Margot
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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

AP Photo/John Bazemore
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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.

Mets expected to tender a contract to Jenrry Mejia

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 12:  Jenrry Mejia #58 of the New York Mets reacts as he walks off the field after getting the final out of the seventh inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 12, 2015 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.

While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.

Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.