Tony La Russa responds to Jack Clark

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There’s a war of words in St. Louis. You may have already heard that
Jack Clark, who spent three years with the Cardinals, thinks Mark
McGwire should be banned from baseball. He also questioned Tony La Russa’s claim that he didn’t know McGwire was on steroids during his tenure in Oakland and St. Louis:

“[McGwire’s] own manager never knew that [Jose] Canseco and McGwire and
anybody else ever had taken steroids? Trust me, from [a former player], I have a lot of insight into who did
what and when but I’m not even going to talk about it. It really
doesn’t matter.”

La Russa responded to Clark in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday night:

“I would say I always respected the career Jack had and he’s entitled to his opinion. But his comments about me are wrong.”

What better time for the whole gang to meet up at this weekend’s
“Winter Warm-Up” event in St. Louis? The team has confirmed that
McGwire will make his first public appearance as the team’s new hitting coach on Sunday,
where he is expected to sit down with one of the team’s broadcasters for
an interview in front of the fans. Just don’t expect Clark to be very
cordial should they cross paths this weekend.

“I’m not going to say hello. I’m not going to shake his hand. He’s a sad excuse for a
player in the industry of baseball. Just seeing him in uniform makes me
throw up.”

Report: Dodgers could pursue three-year deal with Rich Hill

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Rich Hill #44 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.

Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.

The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.

Yankees in, Red Sox out on Edwin Encarnacion

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler AustinGreg Bird combo in 2017.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.

Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.