Theo holds forth on steroids, Halladay, Youkilis and other stuff

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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was on WEEI’s “The Dale and Holley” show yesterday and talked about all kinds of things — the Sox’ recent troubles, Halladay, Ortiz’ situation and steroids in general, Youkilis’ suspension, etc.  All pretty straightforward stuff, though this bit about finding Ortiz’s statements on PEDs to be satisfying was interesting:

He said, ‘Look, this report is shocking to me. I haven’t taken
steroids and I want to find out what the heck I tested positive for. I
need to talk to the union, I need to find out what’s going on. As soon
as I do . . . I’m not going to hide from this, I’m going to answer
every single question.’ When a player says something like that, which
is refreshing given a normal response . . . hiding behind excuses or
some sort of technical legal situation to not address the question head
on . . . you want to stand behind him.

I guess Theo can feel satisfied about that if he wants, but to suggest that Ortiz’s statements weren’t accompanied by “technical legal” excuses is really stretching things.  You’ll recall that Union general counsel Michael Weiner spoke before Ortiz did, and what he offered — while totally valid in my mind — was about as long a legal disclaimer as anyone has offered in connection with steroids to date.

Johnny Cueto expected to opt-out of his deal after the season

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Johnny Cueto signed a six-year $130 million deal with the Giants prior to the 2016 season. In his first season he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 219.2 innings, helping lead the Giants to the playoffs. This season has been rocky for Cueto — he’s got a a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts and has battled blisters — but they’ve been far rockier for the Giants overall, as they sit in last place in the NL West and have the second worst record in baseball.

Many suspect that the Giants will either rebuild or, at the very least, restructure some in response to this nightmare year. If so, they’re likely going to be doing it with Cueto, who Jon Heyman reports is going to opt-out of his deal:

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is planning to opt out of his contract at the end of the year, but he would listen to any extension offer . . . Cueto has $84 million to go over four years. It would probably take an injury or major slump for Cueto not to opt out. But it makes sense that he will.

Heyman says the Giants are not inclined to give him an extension, so expect to see Cueto on the free agent market three days after the World Series ends, which is the deadline for him to exercise his opt-out rights.

The Dodgers are concerned about Julio Urias’ shoulder

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Things are going great for the Dodgers lately. They’ve won seven consecutive games and 13 of their last 14. They lead the National League in wins and are in first place in, arguably, the best division in baseball.

But there are a lot of moving parts on a baseball team, and even when some things are going great, other things can go not-so-great. Like this:

Urias has been diagnosed with shoulder inflammation and shut down indefinitely. An MRI last week showed no structural damage, but his shoulder is still bothering him. He has not pitched in the bigs since late May, when he allowed seven runs in less than three innings against the Miami Marlins. He was sent down after that and went 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA, six walks and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings pitched in three starts with Oklahoma City before being shelved.