Rafael Palmeiro: 3000 hits was “a nightmare”

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We hear from Rafael Palmeiro, and others in his particular place in baseball history, once or twice a year. Usually around Hall of Fame vote time in the winter and then around the time of the inductions in the summer.  They’re asked how he feels to be on the outside looking in because of their association with performance enhancing drugs, whether that association is dubious or otherwise.

They give a range of quotes, usually centering on the idea that the Hall of Fame is out of their hands and that they’re just living life.  As more players whose prime occurred in the 1990s join their ranks we’re likely to hear different variations on those themes, but the general template will be the same.

Which makes Kevin Cowherd’s story about Rafael Palmeiro in the Baltimore Sun interesting to me. A little more time to spread out and get Palmeiro taking. Saying stuff like this:

“You know that 3,000th hit, going through that was a nightmare,” Palmeiro said now, signing baseballs in a side room at the Hilton. “‘Cause I was going through the issues I was having with the commissioner’s office (with his failed steroid test). I don’t look back on 3,000 hits as a celebration. I look back on that as a nightmare.”

He still maintains that he didn’t knowingly take steroids and that, rather, it was a tainted B-12 shot.  Not that it matters much. Given that Jeff Bagwell is being blackballed from the Hall of Fame with no evidence of PED use against him whatsoever, Palmeiro’s failed test will always keep him out whether he was aware of what he was taking or not.

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 locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. 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.