Daily Dose: Peavy out for up to three months

Leave a comment

So much for all the trade talk. Jake Peavy will be sidelined for at
least one month and as long as three months after an MRI exam revealed
a slightly torn tendon in his ankle. He suffered the injury while
running the bases on May 22 and had one good start, one decent start,
and one terrible start since, but Peavy will now wear a protective cast
for the next several weeks.

Peavy is a long shot to be ready to pitch by the July 31 trade
deadline and even if he somehow makes it back by then the Padres would
have an extremely tough time getting anything resembling full value for
him. In other words, expect him to finish this season in San Diego
whether that means on the disabled list or in the rotation. Remember,
he’s still signed through 2012 with a team option for 2013.

While the Padres’ chances of avoiding last place take a major hit, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Howie Kendrick came into the season as a 25-year-old career .306
hitter in 997 plate appearances, but after batting just .231 through 51
games the Angels sent him to the minors Saturday. Kendrick’s
strikeouts, walks, and power are basically all the same as usual, but
he just doesn’t have the secondary skills to be useful without hitting
.280-.300.

Even with this year’s struggles he’s a .294 hitter in the majors
after hitting .360 in the minors, so Kendrick will smack around
Triple-A pitching for a while and rejoin the Angels. In the meantime
Sean Rodriguez was picked over Brandon Wood to replace Kendrick on the
roster, although it remains to be seen if he’ll actually get any action
after hitting .290/.377/.637 with 42 homers in 124 games at Triple-A.

* Johan Santana cruised through 11 starts, going 7-3 with a 2.00
ERA, but tied a career-high by serving up four homers to the Phillies
last week and turned in one of the worst outings of his career Sunday
versus the Yankees, allowing nine runs while recording nine outs. The
good news is that he allowed just one homer, but Mets fans will have
reason to be nervous when he faces the Rays this weekend.

* Cliff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth inning Sunday versus
St. Louis, settling for a complete-game, three-hit shutout. He now has
a 2.88 ERA and 69/20 K/BB ratio in 97 innings spread over 14 starts.
Through his first 14 starts last year, Lee had a 2.45 ERA and 79/15
K/BB ratio in 96 innings. Of course, the big difference is that poor
run support has Lee with a 4-6 record as opposed to 10-1 last year.

* As if passing on him to select
mega-bust Matt Bush with the No. 1 pick in 2004 wasn’t enough, Jered
Weaver reminded the Padres of their mistake by shutting them out
Sunday. Weaver followed his great college career and impressive 2006
debut by disappointingly posting a 4.13 ERA over the past two seasons,
but he’s now 7-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 74/25 K/BB ratio in 90.2 innings
this year.

AL Quick Hits: Brad Penny is eligible to be traded Monday and
the Red Sox have reportedly received multiple offers … For now at least
Toronto is hoping that Roy Halladay (groin) can make his next scheduled
start Saturday … Despite tossing seven shutout innings Saturday,
Anthony Swarzak is back at Triple-A
after filling in for Glen Perkins … A.J. Burnett struck out eight while
shutting out the Mets for seven innings Sunday … Scott Kazmir
(quadriceps) is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Wednesday at
Single-A … Gordon Beckham hit his second two-run double in as many
games Sunday, but is still just 4-for-35 … Oakland activated Travis
Buck (oblique) from the disabled list Sunday, but only to option him
back to Triple-A … Coco Crisp was put on the shelf Sunday after
initially trying to play through a shoulder injury … Scot Shields is
expected to undergo season-ending knee surgery Tuesday … J.P. Howell
struck out the side Sunday for save No. 3.

NL Quick Hits: Out for nearly two months, Jose Valverde (calf)
set down all four batters he faced over the weekend … Milwaukee finally
saw enough from Manny Parra after he was rocked for six runs in 1.2
innings Saturday, sending him back to Triple-A … Josh Johnson gave up
three runs Sunday in a complete-game win over Toronto … In the midst of
a 0-for-32 slump, Willy Taveras sat out Sunday’s game … Ryan Doumit
(wrist) has been cleared to resume baseball activities, but remains
weeks from returning … J.A. Happ struggled Sunday by walking six and
giving up seven hits, including a homer to Josh Beckett … Taylor
Buchholz tried to rehab his elbow injury, but will miss the next year
after opting for Tommy John surgery … Derek Lowe was knocked around for
seven runs while failing to make it out of the third inning Sunday and
faces Boston at Fenway Park next … Hitting coach Gerald Perry was fired
Sunday after the Cubs led the NL in runs last year.

Dee Gordon’s suspension is likely to lead to a call for harsher PED penalties

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Associated Press
19 Comments

Objectively speaking there is no difference between Dee Gordon’s suspension for PEDs and anyone else’s. Abraham Almonte, for example. Or Cameron Maybin. Or David Rollins. All were guys who got their 80 games, served their time, came back and whose cases didn’t raise too much of a fuss. But Gordon’s suspension will almost certainly be talked about longer and more loudly and will likely lead to calls for harsher penalties and changes to the PED suspension rules.

Part of it is simply fame. He’s a pretty big name as far as these things go. The biggest since the Biogenesis guys a couple of years ago. He won the batting title last year. He’s the son of a famous major leaguer. There is a direct correlation between the volume and intensity of the narratives applied to one’s story and the fame of the subject of the story. For that reason alone Gordon’s story will last longer and loom larger.

Another reason — a bigger reason, I think — is timing. Gordon was seen by many to have had a breakout season in 2015 and, when it was over, he was rewarded for it with a nice five-year $50 million deal. The narrative will arise by, oh, 9AM today, that the suspension was “worth it” for Gordon and that he cashed in because of it, rendering his suspension a mere slap on the wrist. This is especially true given that his deal is severely backloaded. He’ll lose less than $2 million in salary in 2016 while collecting the other $48 million-plus. Totally worth it!

I understand why people will say that, but such a stance has some serious flaws. Among them:

  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows when Gordon began to take PEDs;
  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows how, in fact, Gordon’s performance was actually enhanced;
  • It forgets that lots and lots of people were talking about how Gordon’s “breakout season” was actually 2014, not 2015, rendering that whole “he juiced and then got his money” argument fairly problematic.

Those points will likely be ignored as arguments in favor of harsher penalties grow louder. Ken Rosenthal reminds us this morning that some have called for some form of contract voiding or clawing back of more money than just the salary earned while on suspension. Those calls too will likely grow louder. There will also be calls for changes in the appeal process. Like this one, which came moments after Gordon’s suspension was announced:

When you have an actual union member angrily call for the repeal of a collectively-bargained protection in punishment situations, you’re sort of through the looking glass. Or past a tipping point. Or something. You’re certainly in a world where the usual dynamics between employer and employee are not operative and, as a result, changes are inevitable. As we noted recently, players today are perhaps more adamantly anti-PED than the owners and the league are. They’re competitors reacting to cheating by their competition. The fuel for stronger penalties is likely to come more from them than anyone.

The union and the league will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this year. Performance enhancing drugs and their penalties will be a part of that. Expect harsher penalties and possibly different sorts of rules altogether. Expect Dee Gordon to be the poster child for these changes, even if his case is no different in form than that of Abraham Almonte, Cameron Maybin, or David Rollins. Expect emotion, rather than logic, to lead the coming debate.

And That Happened: Thursdays scores and highlights

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, right, is congratulated by catcher Tyler Flowers after earning a save during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, April 28, 2016. The Braves defeated the Red Sox 5-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
5 Comments

Gonna mail this one in this morning. Partially because of the light slate of games yesterday, partially because of a late night for me but mostly because of the Dee Gordon news which has me thinking of a lot of other things I want to write about this AM.

It’s worth noting that the Braves won a game. It comes just ahead of a series at Wrigley against the Cubs, so the winning streak will likely last a single day, but the 2016 Braves have to take what they can get.

The Marlins had a notable night outside the Gordon news too, finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers, which had to make Don Mattingly happy. For what it’s worth, Gordon singled in a run and then came around to score in the seventh. His RBI tied it and the run he scored ended up being the one necessary for the Marlins’ margin of victory. That means nothing, but you know some jackwagons are gonna make a big deal out of that and I figured I’d get ahead of the jackwagons and note that, yes, Gordon and the Marlins knew what was coming before it was announced because that’s how the appeals process works, but no, it makes no difference, because that’s how the appeals process works.

Anyway: Here are the rest of the scores:

Tigers 7, Athletics 3
Cubs 7, Brewers 2
Phillies 3, Nationals 0
Orioles 10, White Sox 2
Braves 5, Red Sox 3
Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 0
Marlins 5, Dodgers 3
Pirates vs. Rockies — POSTPONED
: In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand. And an aching in my heart, and my pockets full of sand. I’m a long way from home, and I miss my loved one so. In the early morning rain with no place to go.

Marlins 2B Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

deegordon
Getty Images
37 Comments

LOS ANGELES — Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after the Miami Marlins second baseman tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Gordon tested positive for exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, MLB said in a release after the Marlins’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The fleet-footed Gordon won the National League batting title by hitting .333 last season and signed a $50 million, 5-year deal with Miami in January. He’s made two All-Star teams in his six seasons and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base last year.

Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, had a key hit in Miami’s win over the Dodgers on Thursday. He’s batting .266 with six stolen bases this season.

Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did. He is an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, to his teammates and to everyone in our organization every single day.

“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization. But in the interim period, we expect him, and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”

Devon Travis will start taking at-bats in extended spring training

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis hits a RBI double to center field against the Tampa Bay Rays during third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)  MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
4 Comments

Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis underwent left shoulder surgery last September. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm caught up with Jays head athletic trainer George Poulis for updates on several injured players, including Travis. Here’s what Poulis had to say about Travis:

“He’s going to get some live at-bats with the extended team down in Florida on Friday. Big step for him, he’s very excited, he’s doing great, and we’re very optimistic, but no timeline right now on his return. We’re just going day by day, step by step.

“When you have something like that, it continues to heal even when you’re playing. We’re just trying to acclimate him and condition him to withstand all of the stress that he’s going to put on his shoulder … He won’t play in the field right now. We’ll mix that in, as well, but right now he’s just going to get some at-bats.”

The key phrase, of course, is “no timetable”. The second baseman’s rehab has gone slower than expected. Getting into some extended spring training games, though, signals progress.

Travis, 25, broke out last season, hitting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances last season. The Jays have had Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney handle second base duties this year, but their aggregate .560 OPS is the worst mark in the American League.