Around the League: Selig Shocked, Shocked By Drug Usage

Around the League: Selig Shocked, Shocked By Drug Usage

MLB and the Players' Association have agreed to new, stricter, penalties for PED use.  The first positive test results in a 80-game suspension, the second in a 162-game suspension, and a third test results in a lifetime ban.  In order to prevent a recurrence of guys like Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta returning from a suspension rested at the end of the season, any player suspended will be ineligible for the playoffs.  There will also be increased testing and, for a player caught, there will be a total of 9 random tests a year for the rest of his career.

There were also attempts to reduce accidental use.  Supplements will be provided to all players which do not violate the policy.  In addition, an arbitration panel can cut the first and second suspensions in half if the player argues that taking the PED was accidental.

While the latter sounds nice, give that the last arbitrator who ruled against MLB was subsequently fired, I wouldn't count on a whole lot of players successfully proving unintentional dosages.  I continue to find Bud Selig's obsession with this issue highly ironic for the guy who turned a blind eye to steroids when Sosa and McGwire were "saving the game."  It brings to mind the famous scene from Casablanca:



  • The Tigers say that Max Scherzer rejected their very lucrative contract offer.  Agent Scott Boras says it was the Tigers who rejected their offer.  Whoever is telling the truth here, the upside is that Scherzer will likely be a free agent this winter.
  • Following a bone-headed running play in Sidney, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seems to be nearing the end of his patience with OF Yasiel Puig.
  • David Ortiz signed a potential 4 year extension with the Red Sox (the last two years are vesting options).  The contract would take him to his age 40 season, increasing the likelihood that Ortiz retires with the Red Sox.


  • The Rangers are really having injury problems.  Both 2B Jurickson Profar (this does *not* help my fantasy team) and C Geovany Soto will miss 2 1/2 months with injuries.  Profar suffered a muscle tear in his shoulder and Soto a torn miniscus.  Rough start for a team that has had two straight rough finishes.


  • The Rangers have signed ex-Cub Scott Baker.


  • The Tigers agreed on a 8-year, $248 million extension with Miguel Cabrera.  The Tigers have now locked Cabrera up through his age 41 season, at a total price tag of $292 million.  The deal was high controversial with sportswriters.  However, Mike Ilitch clearly wants a World Series title in his lifetime and this deal locks up the most devastating hitter of his era for an extended push.


  • A day after the Cabrera deal, Mike Trout and the Angels agreed on a 6-year, $144.5 million extension.  The contract buys out all of his arb years and two years of free agency.  It makes you wonder what their internal arb numbers for him were.  The scary thing is he'll only be 29 when he hits free agency.
  • Nice story here.  After several years lost to injury, Grady Sizemore will be the starting center fielder for the Red Sox.  The move likely pushes Jackie Bradley, Jr., back to AAA.

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  • I was floored by both of the deals done yesterday with Cabrera and Trout. I am wondering if we are ever going to see a premier free agent hit the market again.

    I think the Cabrera one will come back to bite the Tigers badly. I understand that salaries are going up and they were trying to get out ahead of the wave, but it seems like a ton of risk. It almost looks like the Tigers were "on tilt" after the Scherzer non-deal.

    On the other hand, I love the Trout deal for the Angels. Granted I don't think there was any dollar amount that I would have considered to be too high for Trout. Locking him up to 29 years guarantees that they will have the best player on the planet for an extra two years. Sounds like a good idea to me.

  • In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    I am sure that we will see many premier free agents hit the market in the future. Just off hand:


  • In reply to DaveP:

    Olt won't be eligible for FA until his age 31 season. The castro extension will be viewed as a brilliant business move (assuming he rebounds- I think he will) as he would have been eligible for "super-two arbitration" this winter. Now he won't see FA until his age 31 season. The same with Rizzo. He would have been a super-two arb eligible after this season.

    Samardzija, we'll see what happens. I still think we re-sign him.

    Lots of time left to worry about Baez/Almora/Bryant. But assuming they're successful early on atthe MLB level, I'd think the FO would move quickly to lock them up. Though with Boras representing Bryant & Almora, who knows...

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Wow. What a whiner.

    Way to cite two guys that were already extended BTW.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Their behavior suggests exactly the opposite. They've tried to extend Rizzo, Castro, and Samardzija and the only one who wasn't successful was Samardzija because he doesn't need the money and is determined to go to free agency.

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    In reply to KC Cubs Fan:

    One takeaway I see from clubs trying to extend players before FA: They have alot more success with it if they do it before the player hits arbitration.

    Players who are already rich, basically, are not giving clubs discounts for early extensions. Scherzer, Shark, Cabrera, etc.....these guys are already rich. Shark will have made over $25 mil already by the end of this season....why negotiate away leverage, when you already feel comfortable?

    Castro, Rizzo, Trout, Starling Marte....all of them, on the other hand, signed extensions before they were rich. They knew they were trading away ceiling, for the certainty of at least making $15-20 mil in their baseball careers, no matter what (well, $150 mil in Trout's case). If you get a player early, I think they will give up some future $$$$ in exchange for certainty.

    Once a player hits arbitration, IMO, it's too late.....

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    Selig was shocked, but Ryan Dempster was blindsided.

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    I'm not that high on Scherzer. Last year was the only time he's ever pitched more than 200 innings. He's not exactly been a workhorse. Then you throw Scott Boras into the equation. Someone is going to overpay in both $ and years. I'm hoping it's not the Cubs.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Scherzer is also 31, hes nearing the age where power pitchers power pitchers start to drop in velocity. Throw in a flyball pitcher pitc hing in a ballpark thats a dream for Flyball pitchers. Of Course, BoreUs will take him to FA, where he will become next years Ubaldo Jiminez.

  • Mike, thanks for slamming Selig and his hypocracy. But it wasn't just Selig. It was everyone in the game during the steroid era, the GMs and managers, the players and especially the now holier than thou sports writers casting their HOF ballots. All were complicit and part of a conspiracy of silence. They all knew what was going on. At a minimum, they all had to have a strong suspicion and chose to bury their head in the sand.

  • In reply to TTP:

    You named everyone but the biggest problem.

    The Players Union, who had just about destroyed baseball with their strike, and who would not consider allowing testing under any circumstances.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    And Baseball put Marvin Miller into its hall of fame.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    I couldn't agree more that it was the players and the union that turned the biggest blind eye. MLB had testing in the minors LONG before the majors because the union refused to even bargain the issue. It is well documented that MLB did broach the issue many times and were rebuffed.

    The reality is until congress basically said you fix it or we will, did the players see they had no choice as congress' solution probably would have been the most punitive.

    In fact Bud takes the black eye now (nature of the job) but it really is the players who allowed this to happen. 15 years ago MLB couldn't even sit at the table with the players in the middle of a contract, it literally was a non starter. But I would rather Bud keep taking one for the league so the penalties get the drugs out of the game. The good drugs are ahead of the tests so the only way to rid the game is make the penalties so punitive that players don't want to risk it.

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    In reply to bleedblue:

    Mr. Tough Guy in 1998: "I think what Mark McGwire has accomplished is so remarkable, and he has handled it all so beautifully, we want to do everything we can to enjoy a great moment in baseball history." If he was as opposed to steroids as he now claims to be, he wouldn't have built an entire marketing effort around Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire. It's exactly like Ranault decrying gambling while taking his winnings at the same time.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Oh, I don't mean that what you said is wrong. What I mean is the people using them and not willing to negotiate in collective bargaining have the largest burden by far. Did the league and teams exploit that? you bet. Are they to blame for that? Absolutely! But the players used them, the players wouldn't negotiate it, to me it is clear where the majority of burden sits.

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    In reply to DaveP:

    Gotta love a strong union. Can't blame the players one bit for getting as much money as they can while they are healthy, I watch baseball for the talent on the field not to watch some greedy owner fill his bank account.

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    In reply to TTP:

    Thanks. I'm actually kind of surprised I haven't taken more heat for that.

  • The Red Sox took the biggest of gambles with Sizemore and it appears to have paid off. The Cubs actually benefited by this decision as they would have likely kept Kalish around if they hadn't signed Sizemore.

    JBJ will be fine, he's 23yo and has 80 career games @ AAA.... He'll be up before long.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It would be a shame if a Red Sox starter got hurt and Bradley were traded to the Cubs as part of a package for Samardzija.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    They are loaded with SP talent at AAA too so I really think of all the contenders, this is the team that would re-load internally if something like that happened.

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed, it's very unlikely they would need to make that trade.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    But you know if they really wanted to send any of their top SP prospects (that Theo drafted) i.e., Owens/Webster/Barnes/Ranaudo on over to go with JBJ, I'm sure Theo would oblige them....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    theo is very good at acquiring power arms. apparently so are the Rangers; Edwards,Grimm,Ramirez,Pimentel,Loux & Hendricks (not a power arm) have all come from the Rangers in the last 18 months.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And the Cubs need pitching. They are fairly strong with CF prospects already. Almora, Szczur, Hannemann, Dunston, Martin, ...

  • Ilitch is a different case.

    The guy is elderly and extremely wealthy.
    He has the money but he doesn't have the time.
    You can't take it with you applies here.

    The Cabrera deal doesn't surprise me as much as the Tigers letting Scherzer get away.

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    In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Scherzer's not gone yet.

  • In reply to Ray:

    Well, he's supposedly going to hit FA.
    Normally when guys hit FA they go.

    But who knows... Ilitch might decide he's gonna be going to the Little Caesar's in the sky soon and sweeten his offer.

  • Considering everything, the Angels did the Trout extension correctly. Im guessing Artie Moreno looked at the Cabrera numbers and said "get it done". And just think, Trout will be a FA again at age 29.

  • Agree with TTP. The whole baseball world, including the squeaky clean players jumped on the bandwagon.

    No wonder steroids looked like the path to fame and fortune.

  • In reply to bruno14:

    I matriculated to an Ivy League school in 1975. I can say I was astounded to see all the shot putters/Hammer throwers, a few national ranked wrestlers and a few all-league football players doing the 'roids during my time there. There was no drug testing back then. If it was happening in the Ivy leagues w/ guys who knew they were never going ro earn a dime from it, of course it was going to run rampant through pro sports and yet 20 years later nothing was being done about it. I'm sure it cost guys like Puckett their lives. One track guy I knew had a heart attack in his mid twenties. But money talks and sanity walks.

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    In reply to Oneear:

    For me the real telling guy on the Mitchell report was F.P. Santangelo. If that guy was doping, it was more widespread than anyone wants to admit. (Which is something logic tells you, as well.)

  • That Casablanca vid was perfect. Thanks for that.

  • I'm hearing Alberto Cabrera is getting DFA'd and Brian Schlitter will make the team and grab the last bullpen spot.

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    In reply to Caps:

    If true, and it may well be, it's a pity the Cubs couldn't get more from an arm as live as Cabrera's.

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    In reply to Caps:

    Wittenmyer has the same story. I'll be happily surprised if Cabrera makes it through waivers.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I can see a non-contending team taking a chance on him. But there are brigades of good stuff/no command types. We've run through a number: Eduardo Sanchez, H-Rodriguez, Jairo Asencio....we all know the type

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'll be surprised too... I'm almost sure someone's going to take him... A lot of rankings have Cabrera among our top 25 prospects, could be a top 20 or top 15 for other teams.

  • In reply to Caps:

    Cabrera was very good as a starter last year, with that 5th spot open I wonder why the FO didnt stretch him out this spring? Apparently FO isnt a big fan.

  • In reply to bleachercreature:

    I'm thinking that without any options, the FO just didn't have the time to assess him as a starter, so they went with the quickest route to get him to the bigs and that was from the bullpen... Just the way I see it.

  • Cabrera never impressed me. My patience with "live arm" types that never learn to consistently throw strikes is about zero at this point. If he gets claimed, so be it. If not, he'll be the 8th or maybe 9th inning guy at Iowa. Org filler.

    Schlitter will likely be the next coming of Jermaine Van Buren, but wth, he's had two good years at AA and AAA and has earned the opportunity.

  • In reply to notcarlosdanger:

    If Brian doesnt pan out, they might start using his initials to describe his pitching talents......

  • We've all taken our shots at Barney, and I know the upside is very limited offensively with him... but he looks like a completely different hitter this ST. I've never seen him so confident & comfortable up there. let's hope this carries into the regular season...

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    In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    The truth is, if Olt does lock down third and Baez develops as expected, he's a short-timer here. But if he could be a major league average or a touch below offensively he could have some decent value in trade.

  • Schlitter will have success I think. He should get an endorsement from Joseph Schliz brewery.

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