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Report: Nationals exercise Sean Doolittle’s 2019 option

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Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports that the Nationals have exercised Sean Doolittle‘s club option for the 2019 season worth $6 million.

Doolittle, 32, pitched quite well for the Nationals this past season. In 43 appearances, the lefty saved 25 games with a 1.60 ERA and a 60/6 K/BB ratio in 45 innings. Picking up the option was a mere formality.

Doolittle has another option for the 2020 season worth $6.5 million with a $500,000 buyout. The club option becomes a mutual option in the unlikely event Doolittle finishes 65 games in 2019. The stipulation is that he finishes 100 games between 2018-19 and he finished 35 in 2018.

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?