Getty Images

Rafael Palmeiro thinks he can throw a football over them mountains

16 Comments

Never underestimate the confidence and ego of a professional athlete, current or former.

Rafael Palmeiro, who last played in 2005 and then retired in ignominy following one of the sport’s first positive PED tests, told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that he is thinking about trying to return to the majors at age 53. Palmeiro:

“There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it,” Palmeiro said. “I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years.”

This quote is perfection in that it’s very close to the words Uncle Rico used in “Napoleon Dynamite,” when he claimed that, if “Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would’ve been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind.”

No word if Palmeiro, who played one night with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters in 2015, can throw a baseball over them mountains. Or if he has investigated the use of a time machine to make things different than they once were.

OK, easy jokes aside, it’s clear that Palmeiro still stings from the bad exit he took from Major League Baseball and the negativity that has surrounded his legacy ever since. I sympathize with him on all of that, actually. No, he did not cover himself in glory thanks to that famous video of him pointing his finger at members of Congress and stridently claiming that he had never taken PEDs, mere weeks before testing positive for PEDs. But he likewise has taken way more heat for his PED rap sheet than a lot of other players, largely because he was among the first and largely because people really get off on schadenfreude. He was considered a shoe-in Hall of Famer one moment and was public enemy number one moments later. Even if he brought that on himself, it’s gotta be hard to deal with.

None of which is to say that his comeback dreams make any kind of logical sense. They don’t, not in any way. But it’s clear that the guy left baseball in a way he didn’t want to and that even over a decade later it’s still hard for him.

I dunno. If this doesn’t work, maybe he can sell plasticware or breast enhancements or something. Just be careful of selling it to the wives of any Rex Kwan Do self-defense system instructors. I hear their roundhouse kicks are pretty wicked.

Dodgers acquire Manny Machado from Orioles for five minor leaguers

Getty Images
22 Comments

The Orioles and Dodgers finally completed the trade involving Manny Machado, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports. The Orioles will receive five prospects from the Dodgers: Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Rylan Bannon, and Breyvic Valera.

Machado, 26, is in the final year of his contract, so this is currently a rental for the first-place Dodgers. Machado ended the first half batting .315/.387/.575 with 24 home runs, 65 RBI, 48 runs scored, and eight stolen bases in 413 plate appearances. In Los Angeles, he will handle shortstop, allowing Chris Taylor to move over to second base.

MLB Pipeline rated Diaz as the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect and No. 84 across baseball. Kremer was No. 27 in the Dodgers’ system and Bannon was No. 28.

Diaz, 21, is considered the centerpiece of the trade. The outfielder hit .314/.428/.477 with 20 extra-base hits, 30 RBI, and 36 runs scored in 264 plate appearances at Double-A Tulsa this season.

Kremer, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the 14th round of the 2016 draft. He spent most of his season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Tulsa earlier this month. Overall, in 17 starts, the right-hander posted a 3.03 ERA with a 125/29 K/BB ratio in 86 innings.

Pop, 21, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. He has spent his season between Rancho Cucamonga and Single-A Great Lakes. Overall, he compiled a 1.04 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 13 walks in 43 1/3 innings of relief.

Bannon, 22, was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2017 draft. With Rancho Cucamonga this season, the infielder batted .296/.402/.559 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI in 403 PA.

Valera, 26, has appeared in 20 games at the major league level for the Dodgers this season, batting a meager .172 with a .445 OPS in 34 PA. Valera has versatility, having played second base, third base, and corner outfield this year while also having experience in center field, shortstop, and first base.