As expected, this afternoon’s press
conference with David Ortiz was a big ol’ dud. If anything, it was an
orchestrated performance by incoming union head Michael
Weiner, propped up by a statement released by Major League Baseball
this morning urging “the press and the public to use caution in
reaching conclusions based on leaks of names, particularly from sources
whose identities are not revealed.” As Weiner stated during the press
conference, just because someone is included on the list doesn’t
necessarily mean that the player used a banned substance. Wha wha?
Papi was legally bound from saying much, but he took the the
opportunity to predictably deny his use of steroids while apologizing
to the fans, his teammates and his manager:
definitely was a little bit careless. I was buying supplements and
vitamins over the counter … but I never buy steroids or use steroids.”
not here to make excuses or anything. I want to apologize to the fans
for the distraction, my teammates, my manager. We go into a situation
now, it was a nightmare to me.”
Meanwhile, Weiner — who looked like he fell out of bed and ran to the proceedings like Ferris Bueller — sounded all lawyery and unioney:
scientific questions exist as to the interpretation of some of the 2003
test results. The more definitive methods that are utilized by the lab
that administers the current drug agreement were not utilized by the
lab responsible for the anonymous testing program in 2003. The
collective bargaining parties did not pursue definitive answers
regarding these inconclusive results, since those answers were
unnecessary to the administration of the 2003 program.”
Weiner named Androstenedione — the supplement made famous by Mark
McGwire — as an example, pointing out that while it is a banned
substance now, it wasn’t in 2003. He also reiterated MLB’s contention
that eight players, and possibly more, of the 104 siezed by the
government in 2004 did not test positive for PEDs. And of those 96
remaining names, 13 were inconclusive and possibly include multiple
tests on the same player.
Well, if MLB’s intention was to make the whole controversy even more vague
and confusing — which I believe it was — mission frickin’ accomplished, guys. Isn’t there a game on or
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.