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?
F*CK.

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.”

Jacob deGrom open to extension with Mets

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom talks during media day for the Major League Baseball World Series against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
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The Mets are currently enjoying the spoils of the best young rotation in the game, but the big question is whether this is just a brief window or the start of sustained success. Given the huge prices on the free agent market, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep the band together, but at least one member of the rotation is open to sticking around for the long-term.

While there haven’t been any talks yet, All-Star right-hander Jacob deGrom told Kevin Kernan of the New York Post that he could see himself discussing an extension with the Mets.

“I’m a little bit older, so I might be more willing to do something like that,’’ deGrom told The Post at Mets pre-camp. “You just have to look at what is fair so both sides get a decent deal. It’s something I’d have to look into and make sure I agree with it.’’

It makes sense from deGrom’s perspective. He broke into the majors later than most prospects, so he’ll be 28 this June. Depending on whether he qualifies as a Super Two, he’ll be arbitration-eligible for the first time after either 2016 or 2017. Either way, he’s under team control through 2020, which means that he’s currently on track to hit free agency after his age-32 season. The market might not be kind to him even if he manages to stay healthy, so it could behoove him to get as much guaranteed money as possible right now. The Mets could always decide to play things year-to-year, but perhaps deGrom would be willing to settle for a discount in order to get them to buy out a free agent year or two. It’s a really interesting situation to think about, but odds are the two sides will wait on contract talks until he’s arbitration-eligible for the first time.

DeGrom owns a 2.61 ERA in 52 starts over his first two seasons in the majors. Among starters, only Zack Greinke, Jake Arrieta, and Clayton Kershaw have a lower ERA since the start of 2014.

Royals, Mike Moustakas avoid arbitration with two-year deal

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas celebrates after hitting an RBI single against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Seriesagainst the Toronto Blue Jays  on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, in Kansas City, Mo. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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The Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $14.3 million deal, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The deal, which was initially discussed last month, buys out Moustakas’ final two years of arbitration. Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports that it’s believed he’ll make $5.6 million in 2016 and $8.7 million in 2017.

The 27-year-old Moustakas posted an underwhelming .668 OPS over his first four seasons in the majors, but he enjoyed a big postseason in 2014 before breaking out last season by batting .284/.348/.470 with 22 home runs and 82 RBI.

Report: Rays having “advanced talks” with free agent reliever Tommy Hunter

Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Tommy Hunter throws to the Miami Marlins during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Miami, Friday, May 22, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported this morning that free agent reliever Tommy Hunter required core muscle repair surgery earlier this offseason. Coming off a disappointing 2015, it’s understandable why he’s still on the market, but it sounds like he has at least one significant lead.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are having “advanced talks” with Hunter as they attempt to add an experienced arm to their bullpen. Nothing is considered close and Hunter is also talking to other clubs. Meanwhile, the Rays have been in touch with veteran reliever Ryan Webb while monitoring the trade market.

Hunter posted a 2.88 ERA as a late-inning arm from 2013-2014, but he compiled a mediocre 4.18 ERA over 58 appearances last season between the Orioles and Cubs. On the bright side, his velocity has held steady and his control is still very good. Despite the down year and core muscle surgery, Topkin writes that Hunter may be holding out for a multi-year deal.

Pirates sign left-hander Cory Luebke

Cory Luebke Getty
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Eric O'Flaherty wasn’t the only reclamation project added by the Pirates today, as the club also announced that they have signed left-hander Cory Luebke to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Luebke once looked like a solid rotation piece for the Padres, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in the majors since April 27, 2012. He’s undergone a pair of Tommy John surgeries since. Now 30 years old, he logged seven innings in the minors last season before requiring a procedure to remove loose bodies around a nerve in his forearm. The Padres cut ties with him in November after declining a $7.5 million club option for 2016.

It’s hard to count on much from Luebke at this point, but he told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he feels healthy and hopes to compete for a bullpen job in the spring.