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.

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.