Everybody already assumed as much, but Cardinals general manager John
Mozeliak finally confirmed it on Saturday when he said his willingness
to hire Mark McGwire as the team’s new hitting coach was contingent upon him addressing his past use of performance enhancing drugs:
“He needed to be honest,” Mozeliak told the media during a press
conference at the 14th annual Winter Warm-Up. “He needed to say more
than just that statement, ‘I’m not here to talk about the past.’ … He
needed to not have a line or a sentence that he was going to stand
This isn’t much of a revelation, of course, but in a surprising moment
of candor, Mozeliak said that he was ready to develop an “exit
strategy” if McGwire did not agree to an appearance to answer questions:
“My concern was early on in this process that we would never get
there,” Mozeliak said. “I had a lot of concerns. How it would be said,
and what would be said. … We had to have more than we had in 2005.”
While “coming clean” has found McGwire new employment, it probably won’t make a difference as far as the Hall of Fame is concerned.
The New York Times surveyed 35 Hall of Fame voters, and found that his
confession won’t make a difference with those who have voted against
him in the past. If anything, writes David Waldstein, “McGwire might
lost a vote or two.”
After Sunday’s win against the Angels, the Astros announced that the club is calling up infield prospect Alex Bregman. Danny Worth has been designated for assignment to create room on the roster.
Bregman, 22, is considered the Astros’ best prospect and #18 overall in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He hit .297/.415/.559 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI with Double-A Corpus Christi before being promoted to Triple-A Fresno. In 18 games with Fresno, Bregman hit .333/.373/.641 with six home runs and 15 RBI.
Bregman doesn’t have an obvious positional opening with the Astros, particularly since the club also signed Yulieski Gourriel. As a result, Bregman played some third base and, recently, left field. So the Astros may have him play at a handful of positions, even giving the middle infield regulars Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa a breather every so often.
The Yankees are believed to be close to trading closer Aroldis Chapman, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Saturday. Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported on Sunday that owner Hal Steinbrenner hasn’t given authorization to sell “top guys,” which would include Chapman. The Yankees told other clubs they’re holding onto reliever Andrew Miller.
The Nationals and Indians have been the most aggressive in pursuit of Chapman. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reported on Sunday that the Indians “have the best names on the table” for Chapman. ESPN’s Keith Law reported that the Nationals were offering prospects Erick Fedde and Koda Glover along with another unnamed prospect.
The Giants and Cubs have also been reported to have interest in acquiring Chapman. CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic didn’t sense that the Giants are in the “final mix” for Chapman, and the Cubs are more interested in Miller than Chapman, Heyman reported.
Since returning to the Yankees, Chapman has recorded 20 saves in 21 chances with a 2.01 ERA and a 44/8 K/BB ratio in 31 1/3 innings. Chapman will become eligible for free agency after the season. In the event Chapman is traded, Miller will likely move into the closer’s role with Dellin Betances setting up the eighth inning.
[Content note: The following will contain descriptions of an incident during which Chapman allegedly assaulted his girlfriend.]
Chapman, 28, served a 30-game suspension beginning at the start of the regular season due to an offseason incident during which he allegedly choked his girlfriend and fired off eight gunshots in his garage. The police didn’t file official charges.