Yankees' Rodriguez stands at third base in the eighth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Red Sox in Boston

Cris Carter said he gave Alex Rodriguez a talking-to

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This is fun. Ex-NFL player Cris Carter ran into A-Rod down in Florida when A-Rod was getting ready to come back this year and they had a little chat. Carter said that he was concerned about PEDs and A-Rod’s P.R. problems and how his example impacts children and stuff. Then it got good. He said this on the Mike & Mike show:

“And he went into, Well, you know, I’m fighting for my life, and I basically just interrupted him and said, ‘Your life as a baseball player is over with. Now what you decide to do with the rest of your life — that’s the decision that you have to make. You and a number of other athletes have lost a whole generation of kids. Now, they’re going to be experimenting with PEDs because you guys have been successful doing it. What are you going to do to try to repair that?’ ”

Carter went on to tell A-Rod: “That’s really what your legacy should be. What you decide to do is totally up to you. I don’t care. I’m nobody — I’m just a fan. But I thought I should tell you that. You have an opportunity — and it could start today — that you could have the greatest legacy as far as PEDs, kids, high school athletes.”

I don’t think A-Rod or any big time athlete doing PEDs has nearly the impact on kids doing them as do the habits of other kids and the competitive environment in which they find themselves (i.e. if the incentive exists for them it will be way stronger a push than anyone’s example might be). But Carter is right about where A-Rod is in the grand scheme of things.

He’s not “done” in the same way Bill Madden keeps saying he’s done. He will likely still play baseball. I also believe that, yes, A-Rod has every right and incentive — in in some ways responsibility — to fight the charges against him. If for no other reason than because the precedent of MLB leveling crazy 200+ game suspensions for first time violations of the JDA is insane.

But his time as a big impact player and famous superstar is over. And it would be a good idea for him think about his future more than his present. Any move calculated to work on his present image, as opposed to his legal status alone, is probably wasted effort.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

Brandon Belt
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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

Braves 2
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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.