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It’s almost time for baseball

We’re less than 24 hours away from the start of the 2017 baseball season… for some reason, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays get the honor of playing the very first game at 1:10 p.m. The marquee match-up of the day pits the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs against their St. Louis rivals at 8:35 p.m. (I doubt I will manage to stay up to watch the end of it.)

The game I’ve been looking forward to since Madison Bumgarner shut out the Mets last October 5th will happen on Monday as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets kick off their 2017 campaigns. The Braves will be better as they begin their first year in a new stadium (let’s hope they’re still using it by the time the local taxpayers finish footing the bill.)

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Francisco Rodriguez wants $10 million to sign | HardballTalk

I thought K-Rod‘s 8-figure salary days were over since Omar Minaya is no longer a major league GM, but I guess he still thinks he’s worth that much to some team. The Dodgers have certainly been willing to spend big money on other players, but I agree with Aaron Gleeman – they can come up with a more creative solution to their short-term closer problem..


Kenley Jansen being out 2-3 months following foot surgery led to speculation that the Dodgers may be interested in Francisco Rodriguez, with Bob Nightingale of USA Today reporting that the free agent right-hander “is seeking a $10 million contract.”

Last week reports had Rodriguez holding out for a two-year deal, but presumably if the price if high enough–and $10 million would certainly be high enough–he’d consider a one-year pact.

Of course, for now at least there’s no indication that the Dodgers are actually pursuing Rodriguez and if any team is willing to go forward without their closer by not acquiring another “proven closer” it’s the one with Andrew Friedman in charge.

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Autograph of the week: Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodriguez Royal Rookies autographed baseball card from my collection

Francisco Rodriguez Royal Rookies autographed baseball card from my collection

Milwaukee Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez made news this week by sustaining one of the silliest injuries of the spring: he’s missed several days because he stepped on a cactus with his bare foot.

Rodriguez was once an elite closer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, setting a record with 62 saves in 2008 and finishing in the top 10 in both the American League Cy Young and MVP Award voting.

That winter, Rodriguez signed a three-year, $37 million free agent contract with the New York Mets. He represented the Mets in the All-Star Game in 2009 and generally had a good year, though his personality was not always appreciated.

Those negative elements came to greater focus in 2010, first when Rodriguez got into a shouting match with bullpen coach Randy Niemann and then when the Mets’ closer was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend’s father following a loss. Rodriguez eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year of anger management classes and a fine.

In 2011, the Mets traded Rodriguez to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he was used as John Axford’s setup man. He hasn’t been a closer since then. After being traded to the Baltimore Orioles last July, Rodriguez re-signed with the Brewers this winter.

In 2000 and 2001, Royal Rookies produced sets of baseball cards that were not licensed by Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball, filled with a selection of minor league prospects. While there are some players of note who made the checklist, the quality of photos, lack of logos and general design keeps the Royal Rookies cards from being popular with most collectors.

On the bright side, that meant Rodriguez’s autograph (“limited” to #4,950 copies) was less expensive than his certified autograph cards in MLB-licensed sets. His signature on the Royal Rookies cards is also more legible some of his later certified autographs. This one cost me $12.20 from in 2012 and removed a player I’m not very fond of from my Mets All-Time Roster autograph project wantlist.

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