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.
Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.
We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.
Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.
The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.
Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.
In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.
Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.
He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.
Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.
Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.
At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.
Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.
Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.
He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.