The Marlins think Albert Pujols is older than he says he is

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An interesting read from Dan Le Batard in the Miami Herald about how the Marlins are going about — or at least appear to be going about — transforming the franchise. Going big and trying to establish a Latin brand.

Part of that, of course, is the pursuit, such as it is, of Albert Pujols.  A pursuit that is as lukewarm as it is because of a small concern on the part of some in Miami’s front office:

The total dollars are in dispute, depending on whom you believe, but the number of years offered is not. Nine years. That’s insanity, especially since, like a lot of teams, the Marlins believe Pujols to be older than the 31 he claims to be.

This gets whispered about a lot. And I’ve never seen any more meat put on those bones than you see in one of those “that dude must be on steroids; look at this physique!” arguments.

Over at Baseball Musings, however, David Pinto makes a pretty simple and compelling case that Pujols’ career progression is totally in keeping with someone who is his stated age.

Call me back if there’s ever anything more to this. Until then, I don’t think it’s fair to make any assumptions about Pujols’ age.

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.