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Dodgers offer a pointed ‘no comment’ in the wake of the Astros’ punishment

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Ever since the sign-stealing stuff first came up, people have talked about those who were victimized by it. The opposing pitchers who unwittingly threw pitches that the hitters knew were coming. The teams the Astros beat who, we know now, were subject to an unfair disadvantage. Bill talked a good deal about that yesterday.

Given that both the 2017 Astros and the 2018 Red Sox have been implicated in the scandal, one’s thoughts naturally turn to the 2017-18 Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost the 2017 and 2018 World Series to the Astros and Red Sox, respectively. It’s one thing to think about dropping a random Tuesday night game in August at Minute Maid or Fenway, but to lose in the Fall Classic, at least in part because the opponent was cheating, is a tough pill to swallow.

Major League Baseball knows that, so yesterday they wisely told all 30 of the clubs — the Dodgers included — that they were not to comment on the Astros’ punishment. Makes sense: this scandal goes to the heart of the integrity of the game, which the league has a vested interest in protecting. If the Astros’ competitors are out there fanning the flames of a cheating scandal, it’d be hard for the league to do what it wants to do: portray this as an aberration that was quickly nipped in the bud.

Last night the Dodgers tweeted something that followed the letter of MLB’s “do not comment” diktat, but to me anyway, they amusingly strayed from its spirt:

Maybe I’m just online too much, but that whole thing reads like the old meme which, in this case, says “My ‘we’re not going to comment about how we were totally ripped off in the 2017 World Series’ T-shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt.”

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.