Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro insists he never took PEDs

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Mel Antonen conducted a long interview of Rafael Palmeiro over at SI.com.  Palmeiro says that he didn’t take steroids, that his positive test from 2005 was a mix-up and that getting elected to the Hall of Fame “would mean more than anything” to him.

No one is going to believe him of course, and it’s not going to change his Hall of Fame chances one iota.  He has no shot of getting in. Not if he “comes clean,” not if he does anything. I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about making sure we understand our uncertainty when it comes to PEDs and not just assume someone did or didn’t do drugs based on their forearms or what have you. But at some point there’s enough out there to make even guys like me shake our heads and say “sorry, dude, but the benefit of the doubt is over.”  Unless someone can establish that the testing in place is entrapping guys, that line is when the player tests positive.

But like I’ve also said on a number of occasions, positive tests aren’t automatic disqualifications for me. They’re just part of the mix. I’d discount the accomplishments of a known user and do my best to figure out if PEDs made the difference between a guy being Hall-worthy or not.  In Plameiro’s case, I think it’s quite possible they were the difference.  And even if that’s a close call, his time as a DH and the ballparks he called home and the very offensive era in which he played have to dial his case down a bit too. Five-hundred homers and 3000 hits is awesome, but with all of Palmeiro’s discounts I’d have a hard time voting for the guy.

I feel bad for him because it sounds like his past five years have been a drag, but if I’m going to the Hall of Fame mat for anyone, it’s not going to be Rafael Palmerio.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.