The Dodgers’ woes are a form of “cosmic comeuppance?”

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Call me crazy, but I think the Dodgers’ current woes are the result of Major League Baseball allowing an overly-leveraged dilettante into the ownership club and then watching as that dilettante did even worse things to the franchise’s business than anyone could have imagined.

George Vecsey of the New York Times has another theory, however: he says the Dodgers are being impacted by “a communal curse” visited upon the organization because, over 50 years ago, Walter O’Malley decided to move the team from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Vecsey calls it “The Flatbush Curse.”

Anyone who has read this blog for a while knows how I feel about curses. At best they’re little psychological tools people use to cope with perceived injustices. At worst they’re cynical fabrications used to sell books and t-shirts and stuff.  The common denominator is that, for any given “curse” there are a dozen better reasons why a given misfortune has taken place.

But let’s say there was a Flastbush Curse. Let’s say some little old woman from Brooklyn called it into being on New Year’s Day 1958 with great drama, gesticulation and the spilling of lamb’s blood.  Even if that happened, isn’t this the worst curse ever?  Before it was invoked, the Dodgers won nine pennants and one World Series.  After it was invoked they won nine pennants and five World Series, in a far shorter period of time.

It’s almost enough to make you think that the current problems of the team have some other explanation than the move to Los Angeles. A move that, by far, was the smartest thing the Dodgers ever did.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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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.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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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.