Bud Selig’s comments following the announcement of Mark McGwire’s return:
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, a fan of Mark McGwire’s when the latter broke the major-league home run record and thereafter, too, said Monday he “was delighted that Mark’s coming back to the game,” as the Cardinals’ new hitting coach.
Speaking by telephone from his office in Milwaukee, Selig said, “I give (manager) Tony La Russa a lot of credit and (chairman) Bill DeWitt a lot of credit for making this happen. I was — and am — very supportive of their decision. I wish everybody well. When Mark was there, I had a lot of affection and admiration for him . . . I have no misgivings about this at all. Mark McGwire is a very, very fine man and the Cardinals are to be applauded.”
So everyone’s happy? Not so much. Here’s retired FBI agent Greg Stekskal, who investigated McGwire:
Monday, Stejskal questioned the return to the game of a player who refused to acknowledge involvement with steroids.
“It’s basically rewarding a guy who hasn’t stood up and taken a stand against this stuff,” Stejskal said. “There’s been no mea culpa, and instead he became a recluse. It reminds me of a passage from Proverbs: ‘The wicked flee where no man pursueth.'”
As I said yesterday, I’m somewhere in the middle. Certainly not as effusive as Selig is — it’s gonna be awkward for a while and we can’t pretend that what happened didn’t happen — but I certainly don’t believe that McGwire was “wicked” or needs to wear a scarlet “S” on his cloak.
Who’s really right? I’m not sure, but like I’ve always said: if you find yourself disagreeing with both Bud Selig and a federal agent who spent taxpayer dollars investigating the personal drug use of professional athletes, you’re probably doing pretty well in life.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.