Rockies or bust for rehabbing Rafael Betancourt

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Rafael Betancourt is trying to come back from Tommy John elbow surgery at age 38 and could miss the entire season, but whenever he does return he wants it to be with the Rockies.

Colorado declined his $4.25 million option for 2014, making Betancourt a free agent, but the right-hander told Troy Renck of the Denver Post: “If I pitch again, it will be with the Rockies. I can’t see myself anywhere else at this point in my career.”

That’s despite reported interest from other teams, including the Dodgers, who’d no doubt want to sign Betancourt to an incentive-laden deal with a team option for 2015.

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?