If there was one subject Alex Rodriguez was always game to talk about, it was this: Who are the greatest players of all time?
He was curious about what reporters/potential Hall of Fame voters thought and, given his vanity, it was always easy to tell he wondered where he ranked among baseball’s legends.
After his yearlong PED suspension in 2014, the ongoing conversation shifted. A-Rod softened his edge, acted a little more vulnerable, and re-calibrated, wondering now if he could still make the Hall at all.
They have several options in-house, including Shawn Kelley, Blake Treinen and Koda Glover. But let’s be realistic: If the Nationals are going to earn a world championship for their 92-year-old owner, Ted Lerner, they’re going to need a better option. The best options out there for them are either free-agent Holland — if they’re convinced he’ll be close to 100 percent a year after his Tommy John surgery — or a trade with the White Sox for Robertson.
The problem in making a trade is that the Nationals already overpaid for Adam Eaton in terms of prospects. They should have expanded that deal to get Robertson, because now it’s almost impossible for them to land Robertson without including top prospect outfielder Victor Robles — which they are not going to do. Going to the Rays to ask about Colome would be a solid alternative, but the Rays’ asking price makes that deal highly unlikely.
The third freshman, Lauri Markkanen, would have started regardless. Like Ball and Leaf, Markkanen has not only met but exceeded the already-high expectations for his first (only?) collegiate season.
The second? The 2016-17 Wildcats are pretty darn good in their own right, too. More than that, they’re good for similar reasons the Bruins are eyeing a national title: the unexpected excellence of freshmen.