The entire statement can be read here. The relevant part in my mind:
This week, a British rugby player was suspended as a result of a
reported positive blood test for HGH. This development warrants
investigation and scrutiny; we already have conferred with our experts
on this matter, and with the Commissioner’s Office, and we immediately
began gathering additional information. However, a report of a single
uncontested positive does not scientifically validate a drug test. As
press reports have suggested, there remains substantial debate in the
testing community about the scientific validity of blood testing for
HGH. And, as we understand it, even those who vouch for the
scientific validity of this test acknowledge that it can detect use
only 18-36 hours prior to collection.
Putting these important issues aside, inherent in blood testing of
athletes are concerns of health, safety, fairness and competition not
associated with urine testing. We have conferred initially with the
Commissioner’s Office about this reported positive test, as we do
regarding any development in this area. We look forward to continuing
to jointly explore all questions associated with this testing — its
scientific validity, its effectiveness in deterring use, its
availability and the significant complications associated with blood
testing, among others.
This pretty much tracks my thinking from yesterday. Jumping in with both feet now, based on the rugby player’s test would be an exercise in PR, not a reasoned implementation of expanded PED testing.
To the extent there’s a line in the sand here, it’s that the union seems unwilling to accept blood testing of any kind, instead wanting to wait for a urine test. I know that no urine test exists for HGH. The key question here is whether that’s the case simply because one hasn’t been developed yet or if there is some physiological reason why there can never be a urine test (Rays Fan — any insight here?).
Either way, I expect someone to spin the blood/urine test as the union being intransigent. To those who do, I ask whether or not their employer tests their blood on a routine basis, and if not, how they would feel about it if they suddenly began to do so.
New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.
Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.
The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.
It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.
Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.
The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.
Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.
Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.
Jenrry Mejia appeared in just seven games this past season due to a pair of suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs, but Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Mets are expected to tender him a contract for 2016.
While the Mets were vocal about their disappointment in Mejia’s actions, it makes sense to keep him around as an option. Had he played a full season in 2015, he would have earned $2.595 million. He’s arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter and figures to receive a contract similar to his 2015 figure, but he’ll only be paid for the games he plays. He still has 100 games to serve on his second PED suspension, which means that he’ll only be paid for 62 games in 2016. This likely puts his salary closer to $1 million, which is a small price to pay for someone who could prove useful during the second half and beyond. He also won’t count toward the team’s 40-man roster until he’s active.
Mejia, who turned 26 in October, owns a 3.68 ERA in the majors and saved 28 games for the Mets in 2014. He’s currently pitching as a starter in the Dominican Winter League.