UPDATE: Phillies out of hunt for Aramis Ramirez

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1:15 a.m. EST update: Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reports that the Phillies have dropped out of the bidding for Aramis Ramirez, leaving the Brewers and Angels as the top contenders to sign the third baseman. According to Knobler, the Phillies have decided to keep Placido Polanco as their third baseman and make another run at re-signing Jimmy Rollins.

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Agent Paul Klinzer told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt that he views the Brewers as “a favorite” to sign Aramis Ramirez.

Klinzer is seeking a three-year deal for Ramirez and said his client is interested in what the Brewers have to offer. The Phillies and Angels appear to be the other primary suitors for Ramirez, who is far and away the top third baseman available in free agency.

If the Brewers can sign Ramirez, they’d make Casey McGehee available in trade talks. They could even non-tender McGehee, though odds are that a team looking for a less expensive third baseman would be interested. Seattle is one possibility there.

Ramirez hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI for the Cubs last season. A career National Leaguer, he’s had four 30-homer seasons and gone to two All-Star Games. He would have been a late pick to go to a third last season, but he opted to return home to the Dominican Republic instead.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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