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Rob Manfred, Indians owner Paul Dolan meet to discuss Chief Wahoo

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Yesterday, when we learned that the Cleveland Indians were going to host the 2019 All-Star Game, I asked whether or not Major League Baseball, in exchange for granting the Indians the biggest, most lucrative gift the league can give a team, extracted any promises from them regarding Chief Wahoo. Which would be appropriate given that Manfred himself suggested in October that the league would like to see the end of the Indians racist logo.

Today Paul Hoynes reports that Manfred and Indians owner Paul Dolan met to discuss Wahoo before the All-Star Game announcement. They are not talking about those conversations other than acknowledging that they occurred:

“I’m not going to speculate on what I want the end of the process to be,” Manfred when asked about Chief Wahoo after the All-Star Game announcement. “Paul has been fantastic about engaging. We’ve had a number of conversations.

“I want those conversations to continue and I think we’ll produce a result that will be good for the Indians and good for baseball. But what exactly that is I don’t want to speculate.”

If the end process is not the total elimination of Chief Wahoo, than Major League Baseball has squandered the best chance it will ever have to exert any sort of pressure on the Indians about this. The All-Star Game now awarded, there is not a future sanction or enticement the league can offer that can compare. The Indians, riding the highest amounts of good will following an American League Pennant and the signing of a major free agent this offseason, will never have more political capital to burn with their fan base.

So we’re left to trust Manfred that he did what a lawyer like him with years of negotiating experience would naturally do in the situation in which he has found himself: used his leverage to get a thing he is on record as saying he wants. If he did, wonderful. We’d like to hear about it soon, and in concrete terms. If he did not, it’s either evidence of poor negotiating skills or, alternatively, evidence that his claim that he is appreciative of the ugliness of one of Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs sporting racist caricatures on national television is phony.

We’ll see.

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.

Stephen Strasburg is the Nationals’ Opening Day starter

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Nationals’ right-hander Stephen Strasburg will take the mound for the club on Opening Day, manager Dusty Baker said on Sunday. The news is hardly surprising given Max Scherzer’s questionable status this spring, though it had yet to be confirmed by the club.

Strasburg is approaching his eighth run with the club in 2017. He went 15-4 in 2016, finishing the year with a 3.60 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 in 147 2/3 innings. This will mark his fourth Opening Day assignment with the Nationals.

Scherzer, the Nationals’ Opening Day starter in both 2015 and 2016, is scheduled to make his season debut sometime during the first week of the season. The right-hander is expected to take things more slowly this spring as he finishes rehabbing a stress fracture in his finger.

The Nationals will open their season against the Marlins on April 3.