The Associated Press’ Tim Dahlberg gives us a great big blast of anti-Arod vitriol today, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the spring of 2009. The occasion: Rodriguez’s imminent topping of the 600 home run mark. Among the choicest bits (though if you’re into outrage porn, I highly recommend reading the whole thing):
Forgive me, though, if I don’t stand up and cheer. Because we’ve all seen this act before.
A magical mark. A tainted player.
Another entry into the record books we can’t believe.
About the only thing missing is an immense, shaven head and the traveling circus that always seemed to surround it. Say what you will about Barry Bonds, he always made for good entertainment.
Yeah, Dahlberg actually has relatively kind words for Bonds compared to A-Rod based on some notion that A-Rod is actually a worse person for admitting that he took PEDs when confronted about it as opposed to Bonds, for whom Dahlberg says “there was always a shred of deniability about steroids.”
Whatever. Based on what he wrote last year, Dahlberg doesn’t even believe that baseball players deserve basic Constitutional rights, so I’m pretty sure he’d have hate to spew regarding Rodriguez no matter what we learned about the extent or affect of his PED use. Really, we could get a notarized statement from God Almighty that PEDs gave A-Rod a definite number of extra home runs over the years and Dahlberg would still dismiss his entire career as a fraud.
But we can dismiss Dahlberg’s take just as easily. The whole screed sounds like something warmed over from two years ago when steroid outrage wasn’t yet tired and cliched. Most fans — and writers — have moved on since then. No, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten or even forgiven — nor should we — but most sensible people have moved past the idea that they’ve had their childhood memories stolen from them simply because an athlete took some drugs.
Sadly, some people still feel like they’ve been utterly betrayed. What a small and sad world they must live in.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.
Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.
Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.
Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.