Breaking: McGwire admits to using steroids in 1998

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We knew this was coming eventually, but now it has finally come. McGwire was taking steroids in 1998 when he broke the home run record.  Excerpts from his statement, which have been leaked:

  • “I wish I had never touched steroids.  It
    was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I
    wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
  • “I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come.  It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what
    people have suspected”
  • “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs
    had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I
    didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good
    years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids.
    But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly
  • “After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a
    position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but
    now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about
    it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.”
  • “I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 offseason and
    then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the ’90s,
    including during the 1998 season.”
  • “During the mid-’90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games
    over five years. I experienced a lot
    of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a
    stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was
    definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids
    could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and
    prevent injuries, too.”
  • “Baseball is really different now — it’s been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players’ association implemented
    testing and they cracked down, and I’m glad they did.”

The AP report says that McGwire also used human growth hormone, though McGwire didn’t include that
detail in his statement.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is reportedly trying to trade Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe

Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.

Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.

Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.

Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.