A reminder: Francisco Rodriguez is a worse human being than Ryan Braun

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If you’re an Orioles fan, feel free to root for the laundry. But let’s not celebrate Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was initially arrested in Aug. 2010 after beating up the father of his girlfriend, Daian Pena. Rodriguez assaulted Carlos Pena at Citi Field after a game, punching him in the face. The incident actually left Rodriguez with torn ligaments in his pitching hand, forcing him to miss the rest of the season. The Mets took the incident very seriously, suspending him for two days. Rodriguez later pleaded guilty to assault charges and was sentenced to undergo 52 weeks of anger management. He was also barred from contacting his now ex-girlfriend, and mother of his twins, for two years.

If that was the end of K-Rod’s story, it might be worth forgiving him. However, he was arrested again last September in Wisconsin after he allegedly beat up a new girlfriend (and, again, the mother of his child). Those charges had to be dropped, mostly because the girlfriend and their housekeeper, an eyewitness, both departed for Rodriguez’s native Venezuela before the trial was scheduled to begin and never returned.

According to the prosecutor in the original case, there were also earlier incidents involving Pena, including one that led to her hospitalization in Venezuela.

So, yeah, Rodriguez is a quality reliever and he should fit nicely into a setup role in the Baltimore pen. The Orioles are a better team with him. As a person, though, he’s more worthy of scorn than any steroids user.

Sign-stealing penalties could be ‘unlike anything seen in the sport’s recent history’

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Early this morning we learned that Major League Baseball was planning to talk to former Astros Carlos Beltrán and Alex Cora as part of the sign-stealing investigation. Late this morning Jeff Passan of ESPN reported that the investigation is, actually, going to go much wider than that.

Passan reports that Major League Baseball will not limit its focus to the 2017 Astros, who were the subject of the report in The Athletic on Tuesday. Rather, it will also include members of the 2019 Astros and will extend to other teams as well. Passan specifically mentions the 2018 Red Sox which, of course, were managed by Alex Cora one year after he left Houston, where he was A.J. Hinch’s bench coach.

Oh, it also includes recently-fired Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who the league plans to interview but who, Passan says, has hired a lawyer. Which is sort of interesting in its own right, but let’s stay on topic.

Passan:

The league is attempting to cull tangible evidence from the widespread paranoia of front offices and teams around the game about others cheating and has indicated it will consider levying long suspensions against interviewees who are found to have lied, sources said . . . The penalties for illegal activity are determined by commissioner Rob Manfred, though if the league can prove wrongdoing, the severity could be unlike anything seen in the sport’s recent history, sources said.

The Cardinals were fined $2 million when an employee, Chris Correa, hacked the Astros computer system. Correa, of course, was permanently banned from baseball and served prison time. Former Braves GM John Coppolella was likewise given a permanent ban for lying about the team’s circumvention of international signing rules. If Passan’s source is right and the league is going to level heavy penalties here, that’s where you have to start, I imagine.

To me, the stuff about Coppolella’s lying and the bit about interviewees lying mentioned in the block quote is key.

Will anyone have the hammer brought down upon them for being responsible for stealing signs? Hard to say. But they likely will if they are not forthcoming with league investigators. Which is actually a pretty decent way to handle things when one is conducting an internal investigation. Maybe you don’t give amnesty to wrongdoers in the name of information-gathering, but you do signal to them that cooperation is incentivized and lack of cooperation will be punished.

It’s an approach, by the way, that Major League Baseball notably did not take in the course of its PED investigations a decade ago. That led to a final report that had massive gaps in information and caused the league to focus on and publicize only the lowest-hanging fruit. As I argued at the time, if information-gathering, as opposed to P.R. considerations was its true aim, MLB would’ve handled it differently.

In the early stages here, in contrast, it does sound like baseball is taking this seriously. That’s a good thing.