If Tim Lincecum truly regrets anything, he probably regrets getting caught the most. But he’s pretty hip to the P.R. issues surrounding his pot bust and because of it he offered a statement following his post-Cy Young interview yesterday:
“I made a mistake and I regret my actions. I want to apologize to the Giants organization and the fans. I know as a professional athlete I have a responsibility … both on and off the field. I promise to do better in the future.”
I think the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman summed up this business the best the other day: “I know this whole Lincecum story is considered overblown and a joke in Northern California, where many folks probably vacuum more than 3.3 grams of pot residue off their carpets at home, but it’s taken seriously elsewhere and by Major League Baseball.”
I’d argue that in an ideal world it shouldn’t be taken all that seriously, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a world where people freak out about small amounts of generally innocuous, generally harmless plants while drugs that actually kill a lot of people are allowed to advertise on outfield walls. We live in a world where the same writers who just acknowledged via their awards vote that it’s possible for a guy to take a certain drug and still be a world class athlete also write about how bad a thing it was for that athlete to take that drug.
I understand that Lincecum broke the law and should pay his fine. I also understand that he’s subject to a collective bargaining agreement that tells him he can’t smoke pot, and to the extent that agreement calls for anything to happen to him because of it, so be it. But the fact that we expect guys like Lincecum or Michael Phelps or whoever to make public apologies like this is a bit much for me.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.