Kenny Lofton would like to let everyone know that he did not ever use, or even consider using, performance-enhancing drugs.
“I just went out there and did what I had to do. I was not a cheater,” he told the Associated Press. Lofton made the comments during an announcement that he had been selected for induction into the Cleveland Indians’ Hall of Fame. The speedy outfielder is hoping for induction into a more prestigious hall – the one in Cooperstown, and it seems he’s hoping the steroid angle will increase his chances.
“I was a guy who never did it (steroids), never tried to do it, never wanted to do it but I played against guys who obviously were doing it,” he said. “My competition level had to be at a certain level to be able to compete with those guys who were cheating.
“I was not a cheater, so hopefully they’ll take a look at that and see what I did under that period and hopefully they take that into account.”
In the current voting climate, this actually isn’t a bad strategy (though it hasn’t worked for Fred McGriff ), and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see other borderline candidates try it.
As for Lofton’s case, he had a .299/.372/.423 line in 17 seasons. He was a six-time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves, stole 622 bases (leading the league five times), scored 1,528 runs and notched 2,428 hits. That might be good enough to get in on it’s own merit, especially if voters remember just how good he was during the first decade of his career.
You be the judge as to whether doing it in the steroid era should make a difference.
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Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.