The McGwire-Rose comparisons make no sense

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ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski can’t see why, if Mark McGwire is allowed to take a job in the game, Pete Rose is not.  Indeed, he spends a couple dozen paragraphs making that equivalency, culminating in this:

Yes, Rose betrayed the game by gambling on baseball. There’s no way
around that elephant in the middle of the dugout. But McGwire, Alex
Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte — admitted PED users — betrayed a similar
trust.

Look, we can argue all day about whether McGwire’s or Rose’s transgressions were worse in the cosmic sense, but before we do that, don’t the people in Rose’s corner have to at least acknowledge that, with Rose, there was actually a rule in place that specifically banned anyone who violated it for life? Wojciechowski makes no mention of it whatsoever. At the same time, don’t they have to acknowledge that there’s not, nor has there ever been, a rule doing the same for PED use?  Wojciechowski likewise fails to mention that.

Blame MLB for having uneven rules in this regard if you must, but there is no injustice being done simply because Pete Rose is being punished pursuant to the rules he violated and Mark McGwire isn’t being banned pursuant to some retroactive rule that a few sportswriters would like to enact.

Oh, and another thing: Wojciechowski repeats a charge I’ve seen over and over again recently:

McGwire issued a statement to The Associated Press and agreed to a
handful of sit-down interviews, but has yet to do a full news
conference (the recent six-minute fiasco in St. Louis doesn’t count).
Put it this way: McGwire hasn’t gone through the full truth car wash.

McGwire sat for an hour with Bob Costas and did interviews with Joe Posnanski, Wojciechowski’s own ESPN colleagues Tim Kurkjian and Bob Ley, every St. Louis writer who matters and several other members of the media.  If Wojciechowski is being serious when he says that’s insufficient, isn’t he saying that his colleagues did a crappy job?

Are the Cardinals about to go on a free agent binge?

John Mozeliak AP
Associated Press
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The Cardinals have always emphasized building from within. In the 2016-17 offseason, however, they may end up being one of the bigger free agent buyers. At least according to some informed speculation.

St. Louis is already in agreement with Dexter Fowler. But Derrick Goold and Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch write today that the Cardinals “could become more aggressive than previously believed,” with Mark Trumbo and Edwin Encarnacion as “possible pursuits.” Worth noting that separate reports alleged some interest on the part of the Cards front office in free agent third baseman Justin Turner.

The Cardinals are already losing their first round pick due to the Fowler signing, so any other top free agent won’t cost them more than the money he’s owed. And as far as money goes, the Cardinals have a great deal of it, despite being a small market team. They have a billion dollar TV deal coming online and Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia are off the payroll now. Spending big on a free agent or three would not cripple them or anything.

Encarnacion or Trumbo would be first baseman, which wold fly in the face of the Cards’ move of Matt Carpenter to first base (and, at least as far as Encarnacion goes, would fly in the face of good defense). Getting either of them would push Carpenter back to second, displacing Kolten Wong, or over to third, displacing Jhonny Peralta. If you’re going to do that, I’d say that Turner would make more sense, but what do I know?

Either way, the Cardinals may be entering a pretty interesting phase of their offseason now. And an unfamiliar one as, quite possibly, the top free agent buyer on the market.

 

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
Getty Images
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.