Texas Rangers baserunner Cruz is congratulated in his dugout after he scored a run off a two-run single by teammate Murphy against Seattle Mariners in their American League game at Safeco Field in Seattle

PED-derangement Watch: Bill Madden edition

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If you are incapable of talking about Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta as free agents without couching almost the entire discussion in the Biogenesis stuff, you may be suffering from PED Derangement Syndrome. Sadly, Bill Madden of the Daily News is exhibiting all of the symptoms.

Today he has a column about how Cruz and Peralta might be good targets for the Mets to pursue in free agency. And they may be. But we can’t really assess that from Madden’s column which spends very little time on their baseball merits and how they might fit into the Mets’ roster and payroll structure and almost all of its time on clever little jabs about how Cruz and Peralta were suspended for the Biogenesis stuff this past season:

But if he doesn’t get Granderson, where might Alderson go for the bats he needs? I say he should think Biogenesis.

After all, Alderson has never seemed to have a problem with drug-tainted players, going all the way back to his days in Oakland when, whether he knew it or not, the Bash Brothers, Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, were alleged to have been shooting up steroids in the bathroom stalls of the A’s clubhouse … There is one other added advantage in signing Cruz or Peralta. Both of them have demonstrated they know how to beat a drug test.

There are a few lines about them being power threats. But a lot more about the drug history of Sandy Alderson-signed players. Which would be fine if it were used to make an argument about the risk of these guys due to their suspensions presented a possible financial inefficiency or something, but I’m not seeing that argument in Madden’s piece. It’s just a facile “look at the druggie players and the drug-friendly general manager! They should get together!” And the sense you get is that they should get together because of the story it would create just as much as they should for baseball purposes.

I dunno, Maybe the most interesting thing about Cruz, Peralta and Alderson is their associations with PEDs. I just sorta feel that Mets fans are more interested in them as baseball players and their team’s GM than they are as subjects of Bill Madden’s and the Daily News’ PED obsession.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.