The last twenty comments in true blog fasion, with the links to their authors and the player commented upon.

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Jose Altuve Houston Astros

His denial seemed very adamant and sincere.  I also believed Ryan Braun.  Darn near impossible to tell on these things.  I want to believe him.  

Justin Verlander Houston Astros

The team barred a reporter from the clubhouse in August at Verlander's request? What's that all about?

Another bit of news (to me) in this article: Nolan Ryan quit as an advisor because the owner elevated his son and demoted Ryan's in the front office.

Alex Patton Alex
Stephen Vogt San Francisco Giants

Quoted by Tyler Kepner in the Times today:

“When you’d go to Houston, it always seemed like they were on pitches. As a catcher, when you see your pitcher execute a perfect slider down in the zone with two strikes and someone doesn’t even flinch at it, you start to get alarm bells going off in your head. I spent a lot of time wondering if I was doing something in my setup that would be tipping pitches to the other team.”

Alex Patton Alex
Austin Meadows Tampa Bay Rays

Don't count on 12 SB again and be happy if he gets as many AB. But this guy is a heckuva hitter.

Alex Patton Alex
Andrew McCutchen Philadelphia Phillies

He actually was having a better year on the road, slightly better, when he tore his ACL.

He should be fully recovered by Opening Day but it's going to be close.

Alex Patton Alex
James McCann Chicago White Sox

Slashed .226/.281/.413 Post All-Star. Fanned in more than a third of his AB.

Alex Patton Alex
Ryan McBroom Kansas City Royals

The same baseball in Triple-A was hit with more authority, obviously.

The left field spot is his to claim in spring training.

Alex Patton Alex
Carlos Martinez St. Louis Cardinals

Carlos Martinez (P) STL - Jan. 18

Martinez (shoulder) will begin throwing off a mound Tuesday, Anne Rogers of reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Martinez underwent offseason shoulder surgery after performing solely as a reliever in 2019. It's unclear how long his shoulder was an issue, but it could help to explain some of his struggles during the postseason. The right-hander expressed a desire to compete for a spot in the starting rotation next season, and he could be ready to do so by spring training if his recovery continues smoothly. 

Alex Patton Alex
Dusty Baker Washington Nationals

Astros interviewing Dusty for their managerial job.  And all Astros fans I know say, please, NOOOOOOOO!

For me Dusty is the definition of mediocrity in a manager, and he has never been able to manage a bullpen.

Please, no, Mr. Crane.  Please.

Bob Elam Bob-in-TX
Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

The whole sign stealing accusation saga in a mean girls video

Kent Ostby Seadogs
Jasiah Dixon Pittsburgh Pirates

Thanks much, Alex. If the league played for money you would be compensated, but it doesnt. 

carter carter GypsySoul
J.D. Martinez Boston Red Sox

The Guide:

DAVITT PAN: Statcast says EV in 2019: 91.9
(2018:93.0). Barrels: 12% (16%). xSlg: 579
(.621). Hard-hit: 47% (52%). Someone will go to
$30, but it seems reachy for a 32-year-old with
back problems.

ZOLA PICK: Being overly penalized for a
seemingly down year. Hard to get RBI when
the guys in front of you knocked in over 100

Alex Patton Alex
Ketel Marte Arizona Diamondbacks

The Guide:

ZOLA PAN: After driving the Marte bandwagon
for years, fearful the power spike was mostly
the funky ball. That said, latent speed initially
drawing me to Marte is still capable of emerg-

Alex Patton Alex
Nick Markakis Atlanta Braves

The Guide:

At 36 and with 14 seasons under his belt,
Markakis has become more of a supporting
performer than headliner. He still does many
things well: make good contact, play strong
defense and produce with runners in scoring
position. He’s also been exceptionally durable
outside of last year when a fractured wrist cost
him nearly two months. For all of the value he
carries for Atlanta, however, Markakis doesn’t
excel in any area statistically, leaving him as a
fantasy afterthought. 

Alex Patton Alex
Nick Madrigal Chicago White Sox

The Guide:

Fourth overall pick in the 2018 draft, he’sgot
terrific speed and hit tool that has the potential
for league leading batting averages. On the
other hand, he’s short and slim and has had
some problems staying on the field in recent
years. Though he held up through three levels
last summer. He’ll return to Triple-A to start
the season, where last year his 3.7 percent
strikeout and 9.7 walk rate were eyeopening.

TRACHTMAN PICK: The most polished MLB
arrival since Dustin Pedroia? He’s also much
faster. Madrigal’s fantasy impact this year will
be huge if the White Sox let him hit near the top
of the order.

WINICK PICK: When you strike out at an
astoundingly low rate of 3% and you steal
bases (35), you’re worthy of attention. When
you play excellent defense at 2B and your team
just waived its incumbent 2B, you demand

Alex Patton Alex
Jed Lowrie New York Mets

The Guide:

He missed most of the season with injuries
to all the parts of his legs that have names,
then had seven at bats in nine games with no
hits primarily pinch hitting to end the season.
He had a career year in 2018, but that seems
a long time ago now. He’s under contract for
2020 and was healthy at season’s end, so as-
sume health and don’t assume he’ll bounce
back to 2018 levels of production. 

Alex Patton Alex
Carlos Beltran Houston Astros

Jere Longman argues -- weakly, I think -- for opening up the video floodgates.

Predictably (I still read boxscores in newspapers and get the print version of Baseball America), I vote for turning off all devices before the first pitch of every game and keeping them off until the last pitch. If the video team sees something that needs to be reviewed, they call the manager who is standing in the dugout next to something called a telephone. From the time he picks up the receiver, he has ten seconds to make up his mind.

If batters really need to look at their iPads when a reliever comes in -- if they really think they need to -- they can go into the locker room and do that.

But not in the dugout.

Alex Patton Alex
Casey Sadler Chicago Cubs

Casey Sadler (P) CHI-N - Jan. 17

Sadler was traded from the Dodgers to the Cubs on Friday in exchange for minor-league infielder Clayton Daniel, J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Sadler was shipped from the Rays to the Dodgers at the trade deadline and had a 2.33 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 20:8 K:BB across 27 innings for Los Angeles, so it's not a surprise he drew interest after being designated for assignment Wednesday. The veteran right-hander could secure a middle relief role out of the bullpen with a strong spring training. 

Alex Patton Alex
Jordan Hicks St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Hicks (P) STL - Jan. 17

Hicks (elbow) began a throwing program Jan. 6 and is progressing well in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Derek Shore of reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: Hicks underwent Tommy John urgery in late June, so the beginning of a throwing program is a major step in his recovery. The 23-year-old will continue building up his arm strength in the coming months, with a return to throwing off the mound being his next major recovery benchmark. Hicks could make a return at some point this year, but it likely would only be for the tail end of the season. 

Alex Patton Alex
Bobby Dalbec Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec (3B) BOS - Jan. 17

Dalbec is entering spring training with the goal of making Boston's Opening Day roster, Christopher Smith of reports.

ROTOWIRE RECOMMENDS: At first inspection, it looks like Dalbec could use more seasoning at Triple-A Pawtucket, but the Red Sox have an open slot at first base. He entered the organization as a third baseman but split time at both corner infield positions in 2019. Michael Chavis (oblique) is the current frontrunner, while the team could add an established first baseman. The 6-foot-4, 234-pound Dalbec, who was added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, slashed .239/.356/.460 with 27 home runs, 19 doubles, two triples and 73 RBI combined in 105 games at Double-A Portland and 30 games at Pawtucket. Seven of those 27 homers came in 123 plate appearances for the PawSox. 

Alex Patton Alex

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