News flash: Mike Lupica takes cheapshots at A-Rod

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Mike Lupica’s latest column about A-Rod and the Dr. Galea investigation stands as proof that he’s never been involved in a federal investigation:

Come on, there are more things fishy about all this than the old Fulton Fish Market. If the whole thing is so easily explained, if Rodriguez is “at ease” with the whole situation as he told the media in Florida the other day, how come he hasn’t cleared some of this up already, no matter how lawyered up he is.

Sometimes people bring lawyers with them when they talk to the feds
because they want to make sure they don’t incriminate themselves. But
if that’s the case with A-Rod, you’re probably thinking:

Incriminate himself about what?

I’m not the most suspicious person in the world. I still trust my government. I pay my taxes. I don’t think I’m under surveillance. I haven’t joined any militias this week or anything. But I can tell you one thing: if federal agents asked me to come in and talk to them, especially about a drug case, I’d have a lawyer with me no matter how tenuous and benign my connection to the matter.

Maybe the agents on the Galea case are nice young men, but federal drug prosecutions have been known to go off the rails in search of secondary ant tertiary targets pretty quickly. Can’t get the main guy? Get one of his lieutenants. Can’t get a lieutenant? Go after a major user. Can’t make a case against a user? Well, at least we can sift through the records and build a tax case against someone based on what we learned in interviews. No tax case? Well, perhaps we can just throw together false statement case against one of the many witnesses.  Yeah, let’s make it against the high profile dude so it doesn’t look like we’re picking on average citizens.

Against that backdrop — a backdrop that Lupica, having not just fallen off the turnip truck is no doubt aware of — his comments about A-Rod “lawyering up” are nothing more than cynical sensationalism in the service of cheap and easy potshots against a favorite target.

Or as Lupica calls it: Monday.

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)
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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.