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Frank Thomas accuses Ivan Rodriguez and Jeff Bagwell of being PED users

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Hall of Famer Frank Thomas was at a White Sox fan event over the weekend and the subject of the Hall of Fame and performance enhancing drugs came up. While The Big Hurt did not mention anyone by name, he quite clearly took aim at the two men who were recently elected to the Hall of Fame: Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez. Thomas:

“They’ve let a few people in already we all know . . . It’s uncomfortable at this point. I’m sure this year’s going to be uncomfortable because we’ve got two great players going in, but they know. It’s no secret. If they didn’t do it, they would be stomping and kicking and in interviews saying, ‘I didn’t do it.'”

Bagwell and Rodriguez have both been suspected of using PEDs in their career. Bagwell with no public evidence or reporting, Rodriguez via speculation based on his reduced physique in the second part of his career and by Jose Canseco accusing him in his book “Juiced” of using PEDs. Bagwell has denied using drugs. He did not “kick and scream” as he did so, even if his accusers often have had immature meltdowns about it. Rodriguez has denied use as well.

Thomas went on to suggest that he and his Hall of Fame brethren are not happy about the election of Bagwell and Rodriguez or of Mike Piazza last year, who was often accused, without evidence, of taking PEDs:

“Trust me, there’s a lot of internal talk going on. A lot of guys that I respect that are real, true Hall of Famers, all they have is their legacy. They didn’t make this kind of money . . . They’re not happy about this at all.”

It strikes me that if Thomas is prepared to identify some players as “real, true Hall of Famers,” while throwing accusations at others without evidence, that he should come up with a label for them as well. “Phony Hall of Famers?” Something like that? What is it Frank?

In other news, a lot of “real, true Hall of Famers” had strong opinions about the men who came after them as well, thinking less of them for all manner of reasons big and small. Not least of which includes their status as designated hitters. One wonders what they thought when Thomas was inducted.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics