The legal battle over the 2003 steroids list continues to drag on

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The fellow to the right is Jeff Novitzky, the controversial federal agent who in 2004 led the raid on a drug lab that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled violated the constitutional rights of the baseball players who took drug tests during the 2003 steroid survey. That ruling came after a previous, smaller panel of the same court weighed in. Which itself came a couple of years after the trial court weighed in.  In other words, this thing has been dragging on forever.

Forever is about to get longer, though, because now the court is asking Players Association and the government whether an even larger, damn nigh unprecedented panel of appeals court judges should weigh in on the issue. The the court things that all 27 — yes, 27 — judges should hear the case, the thing could drag on for another two years. And that’s before the U.S. Supreme Court gets a chance to weigh in.

From a legal perspective it blows my mind that the court is so uncomfortable with its ruling — a ruling that says that the government can’t waltz into your doctor’s office with a search warrant for a specific patient’s records and walk out with the medical records of you and and your kids and your aunt Tilly and everyone.  This seems pretty basic to me, but to the extent I’m wrong and it’s not basic, it’s something that the U.S. Supreme Court is going to have to rule on anyway, so why not get it to them sooner rather than later?

From a steroids-in-baseball perspective we stand in the same place we have stood for many years now: the court order sealing those test results remains in place, Mr. Novitzky’s seizure of the 2003 testing records currently stands as a violation the constitutional rights of players who took those drug tests, and anyone who leaks information relating to those 2003 test results is in criminal contempt of a federal court order.

But don’t let that stop Mr. Novitzky from continuing to be promoted rather than disciplined and the ignorant from demanding that the names from the famous list Novtizky created be released all the same.

The Tigers will listen to trade offers on anybody

Miguel Cabrera
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Earlier this week Tigers GM Al Avila said that his club was going to get “lean” and “efficient” and that their days of spending big money are over. Later in the week Avila said that they would not likely offer a long term contract to outfielder J.D. Martinez, who will become a free agent after the 2017 season.

None of those comments necessarily suggested that the Tigers would be conducting a fire sale or anything, and it’s certainly possible to get leaner while still competing. One would assume that the Tigers could cut fat in the middle but still head into battle with their superstars. But that may not be the plan. Buster Olney:

. . . the message being received from the rest of the industry is a dramatic shift for one of baseball’s oldest franchises: They will listen to trade offers on everybody.

Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. Ian Kinsler.


Trading those guys would be a pretty big deal. In both senses of the term.

It would take a blockbuster-sized deal to move such players. Verlander is owed $28 million a year for the next three seasons and has a vesting option for 2020 at $22 million. Cabrera just finished the first year of an eight-year, $248 million deal that will be paying him more than $30 million a year between 2018 and 2023, with an $8 million buyout for 2024. And that’s before the fact that both Verlander and Cabrera are 10/5 guys with full no-trade protection if they choose to exercise it. Beyond that Kinsler is a relative bargain at $11 million in 2017 and a $10 million club option for 2018 with a $5 million buyout. Victor Martinez and Justin Upton are hanging around too.

But for as big a trade would have to be if any one of those guys were dealt, it’d be a bigger deal in terms of team philosophy and direction. Cabrera has confirmed his Hall of Fame credentials in his nine years in Detroit. He’s the best player to wear the English D since Al Kaline and has been the biggest star in the organization for most of a generation. Verlander is nearly as important and nearly as famous. I don’t think it’s likely the Tigers will move either of them because the logistics of such deals would be mind-boggling, but even entertaining deals for these guys would alter the course of the franchise for years and years to come. It happens to every franchise eventually, but I don’t think the Tigers fan base is prepared for it to happen to them yet.

Still: the free agent market is thinner that it has been at any time in years and years. Cabrera and Verlander, if they could be had, would be the biggest splashes any team looking to improve could possibly acquire. Kinselr would be a big get for anyone as well. Al Avila knows that. Even if he’s not ready to part with his superstars, he probably owes it to his organization to at least listen.


The World Series broadcast schedule is announced

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Major League Baseball just announced the broadcast schedule for both Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) of the NLCS and the entire World Series.

There are no surprises here. The World Series games are all on Fox. The pregame show starts at 7:30 and the games themselves start just after 8pm Eastern Daylight Time, regardless of whether it’s Chicago or Los Angeles representing the National League. For some reason Game five of the World Series, scheduled a week from Sunday if it comes to pass, starts seven minutes later than all of the other games. Maybe something super exciting will happen then.