What They're Saying About Manny and Ortiz

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The news has only been out a couple of hours, but the blogosphere, she already rumbles:

Tom Tango at The Book Blog: Redsox
Nation will defend him, the others who want to fight will villify him,
and even those Redsox fans who are bothered by it will simply hold
their noses as they cling to the dream of a clean ring. The rest of us
who don’t cling to the idea that baseball is a virgin to be protected
at all costs will shake our heads for a second and move on in peace,
while leaving the battlefield to those too holy for us.

It’s About the Money: There’s
a part of me that should really be happy that another player from the
RedSox has been outted, but really, it’s just another gut-punch to
baseball. Sure, there might be some of you (myself included), that
might jump up and say: “See, THAT explains it all!” Except it doesn’t.
Every team was dirty. Some more than others. But to think assume that
your favorite player(s) are clean is just folly.

Bronx Banter: Nothing shocking here.

Over the Monster: If
this is true about Ortiz, it is a real shocker. I’m not surprised about
Manny, but with Ortiz it goes back to everything he was saying. He said
he was clean, he said he never did anything illegal. I think we all
believed him. Of course with his struggles this season, it may have
said, “hey, I’m off the juice,” but how are we supposed to know? If
this is true, this is quite sad.

The Big Lead: Wonder
if Ortiz wishes he could take back this quote from February: “I think
you clean up the game by the testing. I test you, you test positive,
you’re going to be out. Period.” What a fraud. Nobody should be
surprised that Ortiz and Ramirez tested positive.

Rob Neyer: When
Ortiz said players who fail drug tests should be suspended for a whole
season, he actually meant, “Anybody who gets caught now should be
severely punished not for using drugs, but for being stupid enough to
get caught.”

Fire Brand of the American League: In
my experiences watching baseball, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez were
of shady character enough that it was easy enough to see and believe
they had taken steroids illegally and knowingly. I don’t have that
sense about Ortiz. It’s possible he’s crafted an outstanding, fake
public image and he’s not the person we all thought he was, but I’m not
cynical enough for that. I think right now, David Ortiz deserves my not
rushing to judgment. Not based on all these home runs he’s hit for the
Sox, but for what he says and what he stands for.

Bugs & Cranks: I’m
not going to pretend otherwise: I believe this report. Deep down, I
knew this day would probably come. Too many stars on too many teams
were taken down with the Red Sox managing to dodge most of the bullets.
Then when Manny tested positive, I knew it was probably when not if.
But I didn’t want to believe it. I still don’t. Ortiz? On steroids?

Mike Herz, NJ.com: It’s
time people accepted just how pervasive performance enhancing use has
been in the game (going back to amphetamine use starting in the ’60s),
to the point of defining the game over much of the last two decades.
With each new big name that comes out, it becomes harder to chastise,
because it’s more of an indictment of an entire era rather than an
individual. It’s becoming exceedingly clear that juicing was not
isolated to a small group of “cheaters,” but something that was
commonly practiced and accepted throughout baseball as part of the job.

Obviously a ton more out there, but this covers the bases of the
immediate reaction. Sox fans are sad and surprised, Yankees fans are
not surprised, but are withholding the “ha-has!”, and smart people
everywhere are starting to acknowledge that steroids is way too
complicated and pervasive a problem to allow us to live in a fantasy
land in which there are “cheaters” and “clean people.”

Mariners trying to trade Mark Trumbo by Wednesday

Mark Trumbo

Seattle making Mark Trumbo available has been known for a while now, but Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that the Mariners are trying to trade the first baseman/outfielder before Wednesday.

That’s the deadline to tender 2016 contracts to arbitration eligible players and with Trumbo set to make around $9 million via that process the Mariners would rather move on before any decision needs to be made. In other words: They don’t want to be stuck with him.

Trumbo has elite power, averaging 30 homers per 160 games for his career, but that power comes with a .250 batting average, poor plate discipline and a .299 on-base percentage, and sub par defense. Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has already traded Trumbo once, dealing him to the Diamondbacks back when he was the Angels’ general manager, and now he’s working hard to part ways again.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Rockies are among the interested teams.

UPDATE: Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young to a two-year, $13 million deal

Chris Young Getty

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that Young will receive a two-year, $13 million contract from the Red Sox.

Monday, 1:47 PM: Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.

Marlins hire Juan Nieves as pitching coach

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This is not a terribly big deal compared to the rumors of who the Marlins want to hire as their hitting coach, but it’s news all the same: Miami has hired Juan Nieves as their pitching coach.

Nieves replaces Chuck Hernandez who was let go immediately after the season ended. Under Hernandez Marlins pitchers allowed 4.19 runs a game and had an ERA of 4.02, striking out 1152 batters and walking 508 in 1,427 innings. As far as runs per game go, that was around middle of the pack in the National League, just a hair better than league average. The strikeout/walk ratio, however, was third to last in the NL.

Nieves, a former Brewers hurler who once tossed a no-hitter, was most recently the Red Sox’ pitching coach, serving from the beginning of the 2013 season until his dismissal in May of this year.

In baseball, if you lose the World Series you still get a ring

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 3:  Detail view of the St. Louis Cardinals 2006 World Series Ring at Busch Stadium on April 3, 2007 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Scott Rovak/Getty Images)

“Second place is first loser” — some jerk, probably.

The funny thing about “winning is everything” culture in sports is that it’s revered, primarily, by people with the least amount of skin in the game. Self-proclaimed “Super Fans” and talk radio hosts and guys like that. People who may claim to live and breathe sports but who, for the most part, have other things in their lives. Jobs and families and hobbies and stuff. Winning is everything for them on the weekend at, like, Buffalo Wild Wings or in their man cave.

Athletes — whose actual job is to play sports — like to win too. They’re certainly more focused and committed to winning than Joe Super Fan is, what with it being their actual lives and such. But you see far less “winning is everything” sentiment from them. In interviews they talk about how they hate to lose but, with a little bit of distance, they almost always talk about appreciating efforts in a well-played loss. They rarely talk about big losses — even championship losses — as failures or choke jobs or disgraces of one stripe or another.

All of which makes this story by Tim Rohan in the New York Times fun and interesting. It’s about championship rings for the non-championship winners. The 2014 Royals — winners of the A.L. pennant but losers of the World Series — are featured, and the story of rings for World Series losers is told. Mike Stanton, who played on a ton of pennant and World Series-winning teams with the Yankees and Braves, talks about his various rings and how, even though the Braves lost in the World Series that year, 1991 is his favorite.

Also mentioned: George Steinbrenner’s thoughts about rings for World Series losers. You will likely not be surprised about his sentiments on the matter.