That steroid list is a phony

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So there’s a website out there which purports to have the list of the
2003 drug test failures — the same list that gave us Alex Rodriguez
and Sammy Sosa. We’re not linking it or reproducing the names listed
there because it’s a fake. That fact was confirmed this morning by a
source who is definitely in a position to know. Anyone who gives it any
credence going forward is trafficking in baloney.

But you know what? We kind of suspected that it was fake beforehand.
Why? Because for starters, the site running it — something called
“Roto Info” — has zero reputation as a reliable news source. Really
zero — before now it has never to our knowledge reported anything, be
it good, bad or indifferent. Now it is shown to be untrustworthy, lazy
and irresponsible. For the moment let’s give them the benefit of the
doubt and say that they were merely passing this along as opposed to
having created it themselves. Even then, posting it with a weak
“unconfirmed” disclaimer as they did here does not
get the job done. Most bloggers have day jobs yet still manage to get
off their butts and get this stuff right. “Roto Info” should be no
different. The lesson: get your roto info from Rotoworld.

Second, the list consists of an overwhelming number of bigger names and
very few scrubs. This flies in the face of the information we have
learned from the Mitchell Report,
the Radomski and McNamee business and the testing results that have
been made public since 2003. Where are the Marvin Bernards, Tim Lakers,
Josias Manzanillos, Matt Francos, and Adam Piatts of the world?
Steroids are equal-opportunity, and the fact that this list is almost
entirely devoid of 23rd-25th roster slots puts lie to any notion of
legitimacy.

Third, the names are listed in team order, by division, going from east to west, AL to NL. On the eve of the Mitchell Report there was another fake list like this one.
It was in alphabetical order, and looked fishy for the same reasons.
While this isn’t necessarily suspicious in and of itself — we can
conceive of some reasons why the list could take on such an order — it
suggests someone being a little more methodical about it than might
appear in nature.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly, Jason Grimsley’s name is not on the list, and by all accounts it should be.
Indeed, our source’s debunking of this list specifically mentioned
Grimsley’s absence, and the absence of other known-positives, as the
clincher of its fraudulent nature.

If and when the real list ever surfaces, you can bet that we’ll be
on top of it. You can also bet that we’ll confirm it first. In the
meantime, we’ll be busy throttling the blogger who ran this nonsense
for doing even more to discredit the medium than has already been done.

Gerrit Cole set to begin throwing program

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 24:  Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates sits in the dugout in the second inning during the game against the Houston Astros at PNC Park on August 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
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During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.

The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.

The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.

The White Sox wanted Astros’ top prospects for Jose Quintana

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 27:  Jose Quintana #62 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field on August 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
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The Astros, Braves and Nationals came sniffing around White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana during the Winter Meetings, but each appeared to find the Sox’ asking price well beyond what they were willing to give up for the starter. On Saturday, Peter Gammons revealed that the White Sox had floated Francis Martes, Kyle Tucker and Joe Musgrove as a possible return for Quintana.

It’s a strategy that worked well for Chicago in the past, most recently when they dealt Chris Sale to the Red Sox for Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech, among others, and flipped Adam Eaton to the Nationals for a trio of pitching prospects. Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow didn’t appear eager to sacrifice some of his core talent to net a high-end starter, however, and told the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan as much on Wednesday:

We’re prepared to trade players to improve our club right now. […] We’re just not prepared to trade away players that are core to our production in 2017, and those are sometimes the players that are required to get these deals done.

While Lunhow was speaking specifically to the inclusion of third baseman Alex Bregman in future deals, it’s not unrealistic to think that top prospects Francis Martes and Kyle Tucker would also be considered instrumental to the Astros’ plans for the next few seasons.

Martes, 21, currently sits atop the team’s top prospect list on MLB.com. The right-hander blazed through his first full season in Double-A Corpus Christi, posting a 3.30 ERA and career-best 9.4 K/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2016. Tucker, meanwhile, profiles as the Astros’ second-best prospect and made a successful jump to High-A Lancaster last season, slashing .339/.435/.661 in 69 PA. Rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove is the only player left off the top prospect list, but he got off to a decent start with the club in 2016 as well, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA and 3.44 K/BB rate in 62 innings during his first major league season.