A less-than-intellectually-inspired Tracy Ringlosby column today about Ron Washington
and the Rangers [I’ve deleted Ringolsby’s unnecessary paragraph breaks
because I think readability is more important than faux drama]:
Washington is an engaging personality. He has developed a strong bond
with the Rangers players in his three years on the job. He’s even won
over most of the critics he once faced in the Dallas-Fort Worth media
because of his straightforward approach. But some things can’t be
ignored. Washington crossed that line last July when he dabbled with
cocaine. Washington and the Rangers tried to cover it up. They could
not, however, hide it forever. And it finally came out on Wednesday . .
. Face it, there was enough concern over what Washington did that the
manager and the team tried to hide it. They were exposed this week and
tried to put on a happy face. It’s called whistling in the dark.
Was this really a “cover-up”? Because from where I’m sitting, it was a
situation in which an employee’s drug test results were kept in-house.
Which is exactly what should be done with employee drug tests. Indeed, model
federal drug-free workplace guidelines set forth pretty strict
confidentiality rules for this sort of thing absent express written
consent by the employee to the contrary (which is why PED results are released for players). For their part, the Rangers
can do whatever they want with this stuff, but I’m guessing that they
don’t have an “issue press release when drug test results come back”
policy. Nor should they.
But hey, maybe Ringolsby has a point here. To prove it, I’m going to go
ask FOX and whatever bankruptcy receiver has possession of the Rocky
Mountain News’ old files for copies of Ringolsby’s employee drug tests
dating back to, oh, 1978 or so. I’ll let you know if I get them. Or if,
as was the case with Ron Washington, a cover-up is afoot.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.