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.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.