Roger McDowell returns to the Braves

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Just in time for Baseball’s Civil Rights Weekend celebrations in Atlanta, Roger McDowell, the Braves’ gay-slurring pitching coach, returns from his suspension today:

An emotional Roger McDowell has returned from his two-week suspension and is vowing he won’t repeat the inappropriate comments and crude gestures he made to fans that led to his punishment by Major League Baseball. McDowell’s eyes were red as he apologized Friday “to anyone who was offended by my actions.” He struggled to remain composed while he talked about his return as the Braves’ pitching coach.

In other news, the Braves record and team ERA was better in McDowell’s absence than it was before his suspension. But let us not equate correlation and causation.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is still locked up, thanks to a team option that will almost certainly be exercised, through 2020, and Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.