Indians release Johnny Damon

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Johnny Damon cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week and the Indians released the 38-year-old outfielder/designated hitter.

He hit .222 with four homers and a .610 OPS in 64 games after joining the Indians in early May, earning $1.25 million in guaranteed money as part of a minor-league deal.

Considering the lack of interest in Damon as a free agent during the offseason this may be the end of the line for the two-time All-Star with 2,769 career hits unless he feels like spending extended time in Triple-A to prove there’s still some gas left in the tank.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?