For anyone who is already tired of the Houston Astros sign-stealing drama, feel free to skip this next part.  Unfortunately, the cheating scandal is far from over, and it is going to be one of the primary focuses of baseball for at least one complete season.  According to Neal Pilson, who previously headed up CBS Sports, all the news surrounding the ordeal is actually good for MLB.

He told Reuters, “There are going to be certain unintended consequences from all of this winter activity.  It will increase the amount of attention, focus and promotion for baseball and that isn’t a headache, that’s good news for sponsors and team owners and television networks and everybody associated with the game.”

It’s not good for everyone.  Sure, if you’re only interest is to make sure the dollars come flying in, there’s no issue.  However, for the fans and the players who take the game seriously because of the love of the game, it’s a big deal.  The players – the real players – know that cheating doesn’t make an athlete a better competitor.  Some in the MLB, such as Aaron Judge, believe the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series Win.

Nick Markakis of the Atlanta Braves is another player – one of plenty more – who wants to see the league hold individual players accountable for their actions.  He told reporters, “[The Astros are] going to be able to go out there and compete with no ramifications, which is wrong and I think the commissioner handled it the wrong way.”  He also suggested that, if the league isn’t willing to hand down punishments, some league players are ready to take matters into their own hands.

A familiar MLB face is giving rookies with the Seattle Mariners a little bit of a hard time.  Ichiro Suzuki showed up to give some assistance to the team’s spring training, and he is just as good as ever.  Ichiro is on hand as an instructor and is popping balls all over the place, keeping players on their toes as they try to field his hits.  With a little bit of luck, some of his talent might rub off on the team.

When you’re making over $30 million a year, you can afford to voice your opinion, even if it isn’t popular.  Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez is with the team for spring training in Fort Myers, FL, but he isn’t happy about it.  He’s getting $62.5 million over the next three years to stay with the team and told reporters during a press brief, “You go out there and it’s like, ‘how do I hit again?’  You’re so lost. I was talking to the pitchers today, I’m like, ‘you guys probably come in here and feel good.’ They’re like, ‘yeah, making these guys look dumb.’ They’re making everybody look foolish at the plate and we’re sitting there wondering how they heck we’re going to hit.”  That’s part of the reason spring training exists.

The Baltimore Orioles are down in Sarasota, FL and are making the best of it.  Veterans are able to take it a little easy, knowing that they’re already in the lineup for the new year, while others are still proving themselves.  One of these is Adley Rutschman, who was given an opportunity to show off his talents today in from of Executive VP and GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde.

The club is confident that they made the right decision with his recruitment, and Hyde said after watching him bat, “He’s fun to watch hit.  I just like the way he swings the bat from both sides of the plate. He’s got huge power. I like the setup. He’s got a chance to hit for average and power. It’s a very simple swing, very strong. The ball flies off his bat. So, he’s fun to watch in BP for sure.”

The New York Yankees are getting things started, but they’re doing so without former reliever Dellin Betances.  He is now across town with the New York Mets, playing for his long-time rival.  Even as a kid, growing up in a Washington Heights neighborhood that was full of Mets fans, Betances was always rooting for the Yankees.  That was then and this is now, and the former All-Star player is determined to see his new club make a run on a pennant.

The San Diego Padres are now in full swing with their spring training, with pitchers and catchers having completed a full week of fun in the sun in Arizona.  The team is expected to carry a 13-man front roster that includes six infielders, four or more outfielders and at least two catchers, and most positions have already been filled.  The remaining spots will be decided as players like Juan Lagares and Abraham Almonte show off their talents.