Wanna buy Pete Rose’s corked bat?

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Though long rumored, it was three years ago that it was confirmed that Pete Rose used a corked bat during his pursuit of Ty Cobb’s hit record in 1985. That bat is going up for auction if you’re interested. From the description:

This bat comes with the letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA, the actual X-ray showing the hole and foreign matter and a copy of the September 1985 Beckett Baseball Card Monthly clearly showing Pete holding this same bat. Pete has signed the cover in silver ink: “Pete Rose Veterans Stadium 7/4/85 – 7/7/85”.

Bidding starts on Monday. There’s a $2,500 minimum. I’m sure it will go for far more.

I touched on all of this three years ago when the bat’s existence came to light, but I still wonder why so many people who excoriate HGH users as cheaters don’t do the same for Rose and other bat corkers. I am aware of the studies which show that corking a bat likely doesn’t help a hitter and may actually be detrimental, but the same goes for taking HGH, which has been shown in multiple studies to confer no physical or athletic benefit to otherwise healthy athletes.

But HGH is against the rules and is therefore cheating, and this is why people care. So too is corking a bat, however. And we rarely treat these transgressions the same. Obviously Rose has other issues, but if those were gone, I’m sure the bat corking would not have impeded his path to the Hall of Fame.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

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Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.