Murray Chass gives Pete Nice the gas face, doesn’t understand how the law works

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Remember Prime Minister Pete Nice? I do, because I’m old, but you should too because 3rd Bass was pretty awesome. Well, Nice’s real name is Pete Nash, and his gig these days is baseball memorabilia. I’ve read some stuff about him operating in this world and, like a lot of memorabilia dudes, he sounds pretty shady. He’s been in trouble for fraud and has lost lawsuits and all kinds of things. It’s an icky world and he sounds quite of it.

Murray Chass, a blogger, takes on Nash today. As far as the inspiration goes — Nash being crooked and Nash not being cool to other people in the industry — Chass has a pretty good point. Of course like anything else he does, Chass stretches the point in order to try to make some other, totally stupid point:

Known in his rapper days as Prime Minister Pete Nice, Peter Nash is known today as the epitome of what is primarily wrong with the Internet and blogs … They give Nash a free hand to do and say what he wants about whom he wants with no way of being stopped. Nash has a Web site, “Hauls of Shame,” which he uses to defame people. The Internet gives him that opportunity. Anybody can use the Internet for whatever purpose he wants. You don’t need a license. Just pay a few bucks a month, put a name on the site and you’re off and writing.

This from the guy who uses his blog to level unsubstantiated accusations of steroid use against ballplayers all the time.

Hey Murray: guess what? The law still applies to blogs. If Pete Nash defames someone, he’s just as liable for it as a newspaper writer might be. Really. I mean, I know you may think that’s not the case because you’ve never been sued for the nonsense you’ve blogged about, but that’s just because no one pays attention to you, not because the law doesn’t apply to you.

But that aside, let me know when your “people who write about things on the Internet should be forced to get a license” campaign goes.

Yadier Molina will not enter contract negotiations during the 2017 season

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Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina is still open to extension talks during the last week of spring training. Once Opening Day rolls around, however, Molina has preemptively nixed any contract negotiations until the end of the 2017 season, when he’s scheduled to hit free agency.

Molina wants to stay with the Cardinals, or so he’s telling reporters, but he’s also “not afraid” to test the free agent market this fall should a deal fail to materialize. Via Goold:

I would love to stay, but at the same time I’m not afraid to go to free agency. I’ve still got many years in the tank. Believe me. I feel great. I feel like a 20-year-old kid. I’m not afraid to go to free agency.

The 34-year-old backstop is entering his final year under contract, though Goold points out that he has a $15 million option for 2018 that he can choose to decline in the event that it’s exercised by the team. He’s reportedly searching for a figure closer to those made by other top catchers like Buster Posey and Russell Martin.

The 2017 season will mark Molina’s 14th year in the Cardinals’ organization, building on a career that has spanned seven All-Star campaigns, nine postseason runs and two World Series championships in St. Louis. He batted .307/.360/.427 with eight home runs and a .787 OPS for the club in 2016.

Colby Rasmus could start 2017 on the disabled list

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Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.

Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.

The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.