Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
Associated Press

Red Sox to activate Christian Vazquez

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Non-Red Sox fans probably forgot Christian Vazquez exists, but he does and Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that he’ll be activated tomorrow, a little over a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Vazquez was seen as the catcher of the future in Boston, but when he went under the knife last year those duties fell to Ryan Hanigan and prospect Blake Swihart. Both have struggled, however — Hannigan more so — and given Vazquez’s defensive reputation, you have to figure the Sox will give him every opportunity once he returns, his lackluster 2014 rookie season notwithstanding.

In other news, Pablo Sandoval used to be a catcher. Maybe someone should think outside of the box an—-

[Craig is killed by Red Sox fans, John Farrell, Dave Dombrowski and basically everyone else]

Do Rule 5 draft picks have an incentive to use PEDs?

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Rule 5 pick Daniel Stumpf got suspended for PEDs this morning. He joins two other recent Rule 5 picks — David Rollins and Andrew McKirahan — in getting suspended for PEDs as well.

Coincidence? J.J. Cooper of Baseball America doesn’t think so. He thinks that the Rule 5 draft and its attendant rules actually incentivize players to cheat. And he’s right about that. As he argues, Rule 5 guys are fringy players at best, so taking PEDs (a) makes them more likely to make a good impression and stick in the bigs; and (b) even if they’re caught, the half season in the bigs pays them WAY more than they’d make in the minors. Moreover, the fact that the player is suspended makes it less likely the club will send them back to the team who left them unprotected in the draft, meaning that a PED suspension actually benefits the club as well. Cooper provides some concrete examples of this, particularly as it related to McKirahan and how it could affect Stumpf.

Interesting things to think about. The existence of certain incentives aren’t always predictable but once they become apparent they are almost always irresistible.

The Twins signed David Murphy to a minor league deal

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David Murphy was in camp with the Red Sox but opted-out of his deal in late March since he was not going to make the team. At the time he said that “retirement is a possibility” and “I don’t think I’m interested in playing in the minor leagues.”

He’s now going to give it a try. At least at first, as the Twins signed Murphy to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Rochester.

The 34-year-old has been limited to facing right handers for the most part in recent years. In that role he hit .283/.318/.421 overall with 10 home runs and 50 RBI for the Angels last season. Given how the Twins are going right now — their offense is as anemic as can be — he can’t hurt.