cooperstown

It gets better: For one voter, PED use was akin to murder in 2010; now busted down to burglary

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Two years ago Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat wrote this when talking about Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro for the Hall of Fame:

I compare PED users to murderers — of course, it’s not the same thing. But please follow my reasoning.

He’s toned it down in the past two years. This is the PED-user analogy from his latest Hall of Fame column:

It’s like saying some people who commit burglary get away with it, so we can’t arrest and convict this burglar right here we caught red-handed.

So maybe Ann Killion was right and time does make things better!  In a few more years these guys will have gone from capital crimes to misdemeanors!

Not that Cohn is softening.  He may not consider these guys murderers anymore, but his latest Hall of Fame column tries to make up for the blunted rhetoric with sheer volume.

I am looking at three names on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot … those three names fill me with varying degrees of disgust. I will not vote for any of them.

I don’t know what Alan Trammell, Julio Franco and Reggie Sanders did to poor Lowell, but I hope it was worth it.

There are moral criteria for players to enter the Hall. Don’t tell me Ty Cobb wasn’t a nice man. You know what I’m talking about.

What?

Cooperstown is not a statistics Hall of Fame. It is a Hall of Fame with certain standards of behavior.

If Ty Cobb makes your cut, no, it doesn’t have standards of behavior.

Clemens was mentioned 82 times in the Mitchell Report. Excuse me, but that’s a lot of times.

That’s the kind of analysis that should make the BBWAA happy that they let anyone who has ever held a credential continue to vote for the Hall of Fame for the rest of their life.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.

Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.

Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.