Wait — all A-Rod had to do was to say he was innocent? That would have worked?

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Sensing a meme this morning. Bob Klapisch:

A-Rod can whine all he wants about due process, but that’s just a smoke screen to cover his guilt. In fact, Rodriguez couldn’t bring himself to say he’s innocent during his pre-game press conference on Monday. Over and over, Rodriguez kept saying “we’ll have a forum” to discuss the charges against him. If A-Rod was truly innocent, it wouldn’t have hurt his case to look into the cameras and say, “I’m clean, Bud has the wrong man, and I intend to prove it.”

Mike Vaccaro:

He talked about “respecting the process” that Major League Baseball and he will engage in over the next few months, now that baseball has slapped him with a 211-game suspension and Rodriguez has appealed it. “Please have patience,” he said. “There’ll be a time and a place for that.”

This is what he didn’t say:

“This is an outrage. These are fabrications. I am completely innocent … No. Because those are the things an innocent man says.

I think that the media has already determined that if A-Rod said that sort of thing it’d be something a liar says, but let us not dwell on that.

Let us instead note that it’s totally possible that A-Rod didn’t say he was innocent because he knows saying such a thing would be a lie. A lie that people would kill him for. And maybe it’s the case that he’s going to stipulate to drug use but mount an appeal based on the notion that a 211 game suspension is too great for a first time sanction. Heck, it’s what I’d do if I were representing him. At least if the evidence against him is as bad as many say it is.

But maybe I’m just being too hard-headed about this. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe if A-Rod had walked into that press conference and said “honest guys, I’m innocent” then Klapisch and Vaccaro and all the others would have said today that he did the right thing and they wouldn’t be excoriating him in print.

Or maybe they’re just mad today that A-Rod didn’t give them a chance to call him a liar again. But I’m just spitballin’ here.

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.