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: 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.

Diamondbacks return Rule 5 pick Tyler Jones to Yankees

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Diamondbacks’ right-hander Tyler Jones is headed back to the Yankees, the teams announced on Friday. The Diamondbacks had previously selected Jones in the Rule 5 draft last December, but elected to leave the 27-year-old off of their 40-man roster heading into the 2017 season. Rule 5 draft rules stipulate that when a player is not kept on the receiving team’s roster, the player must be offered back to his original team.

Jones signed a minor league contract with the Yankees prior to the 2016 season. He pitched to an impressive 2.17 ERA, 2.2 BB/9 and 13.2 SO/9 over 45 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton, but was unable to make the leap to Triple-A or beyond during his stay with the organization.

Jones’ outlook with the Diamondbacks appeared slightly more promising. GM Mike Hazen described the righty as a power arm with a “good fastball and power curveball” after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and early reports indicated that Jones would be in the mix for a bullpen spot. A rough spring performance — underscored by his lack of experience at the Triple-A and major league levels — undid most of that confidence, however, and the Diamondbacks weren’t willing to keep him on the active roster throughout the entire 2017 season in order to acquire his control rights.

Jones is set to open the season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, per a report from the Yankees.