Now Brian Cashman’s ex-mistress is getting into the A-Rod act

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We start the day with A-Rod silliness, we end the day with A-Rod silliness. I feel like it’s been this way for months and won’t stop anytime soon.  The latest, from the New York Daily News:  Brian Cashman’s ex-mistress — Louise Meanwell — is alleging that A-Rod’s lawyers have a conflict of interest because her lawyer is a partner of Joe Tacopina and, well, just here:

Court papers filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court claim that during Meanwell’s 10-month affair with Cashman, he told her he “knew of Yankee clubhouse steroid use by various Yankee players by name.”  Cashman also allegedly shared he “was ambivalent to the use of performance enhancement drugs so long as nothing came back to the Yankee organization.”

The upshot: Meanwell could theoretically be called to the stand in A-Rod’s arbitration and since her lawyer is partners with A-Rod’s lawyer, A-Rod’s has to bow out of the case.

Not sure who would call her given that Meanwell has been accused of extorting Cashman and others, is facing criminal charges and appears to be a profoundly disturbed person. I mean, sure, Tony Bosch is probably a criminal too, but at least he knows something relevant to the case via first-hand information. Meanwell wouldn’t likely know that, and her compromised relationship with Cashman would probably render anything she says that he said hard to believe.

As for the conflict: Tacopina says that Meanwell’s lawyer worked or a different firm and there is no conflict. My guess is that this is something that was figured out or worked out some time ago and the conflict is not a significant or a fatal one for Tacopina. If anything, this is probably a matter of Meanwell trying to insert herself back into Yankees drama. Which is both unfortunate and sad.

Certainly hope not. He’s made this case loads more fun!

Jose Canseco to join NBC Sports California as an A’s analyst

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Hey, I have a new coworker: Jose Canseco has been hired by NBC Sports California as an Athletics pregame analyst.

OK, maybe he’s not technically a coworker, as the folks at NBC Sports California — formerly CSN Bay Area — and I do not hang out at the water cooler, have potlucks in the conference room or exchange secret Santa gifts at Christmas time, but dang it, I’m gonna TELL people I work with Jose Canseco. The only downside will be people assuming that, because he and I are on the same team, my performance is something less than authentic. Or, perhaps, Canseco may write another book and tell all of my secrets.

Anyway, Canseco will be part of NBC Sports California’s A’s Pregame Live and A’s Postgame Live shows. Live TV can be hard. I’ve done a bit of it, and there is certainly more to that gig than meets the eye. You can’t always prepare for what happens on the fly. I’m sure Canseco will do well, however, as he’s great with coming up with the best stuff off the top of his head.

2017 Preview: Cleveland Indians

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Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2017 season. Next up: The Cleveland Indians.

The Cleveland Indians almost won the World Series without their best hitter for the whole season and two of their starting pitchers for the playoffs. This year that hitter — Michael Brantley — is back and the starters — Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar — are healthy. Oh, and they added arguably the best free agent bat available in Edwin Encarnacion.

Baseball teams love to downplay their expectations, but given where the Indians are at the moment, anything less than another American League Pennant will have to feel like a disappointment, right? Fortunately for the Indians, they stand as the favorites to do just that.

They didn’t lose much in the offseason. Yes, World Series hero Rajai Davis is gone, but the Indians outfield will be fine if Brantley remains healthy. Mike Napoli‘s loss will be felt but it will be made up for with Encarnacion’s bat and probably then some. Coco Crisp left too, but he was not a key part of the equation.

The biggest losses are guys from last year who will start the year on the disabled list, most notably Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. Kipnis is just starting to work out following time off to rest his sore shoulder. Chisenhall ran into a wall the other day and is being evaluated. There is no sense that either will miss extended time, however.

Otherwise, the lineup should score a lot of runs, with on-base machines Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor setting the table for Encarnacion, Brantley and Carlos Santana, who is entering his walk year. The Indians trailed only the Red Sox in runs scored in the American League last year and they should score a lot of runs this year as well.

The strength of the club, however, remains its pitching. Corey Kluber looked like his old Cy Young self last year, particularly in the playoffs. Danny Salazar built on his excellent 2015 season in the first half before falling prey to injury. Carlos Carrasco posted an ERA+ of 141 before breaking his hand and Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer both stood out for fourth and fifth starters.

The bullpen is excellent too, as relief ace Andrew Miller is joined by Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw and newcomer Boone Logan make up one of the relief corps in baseball.

Pitcher health is probably the biggest uncertainty for any contender, but the Indians have the best pitching in the AL if everyone stays healthy. And maybe even if one or two guys don’t.

It’s hard to find much fault with the 2017 Cleveland Indians. They are the class of their division and, while the slog of the regular season turns a lot of surefire contenders into hash before it’s all said and done, there is no reason to look at the Indians right now and think of them as anything other than the best team in the American League.

Prediction: First place, American League Central.