The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) released a statement yesterday, once again taking baseball to task for its PED policies. They do this every year, and as it always is, this year’s statement is stupid and self-serving and deceptive. I don’t consider myself a PED apologist, but given my thoughts and writings on the subject I understand why I get called that all the time. I thus understand that a lot of you may not grant me much credibility if I were to sit here and rip WADA the way they deserve to be ripped.
But Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan is absolutely no PED apologist (he and I have had multiple friendly disagreements on the subject in the past) so you should take his words really, really seriously when he tears WADA a new one:
WADA blitzed the public with half-truths, knowing full well that if any
sport dare argue, it would look like it was trying to hide something.
An organization full of blowhards and self-important ninnies became the
standard bearer in drug testing by using that scare tactic, and now,
sadly, its hollow principles exist not for the good of sport but
itself. No wonder WADA is so tight with the Olympic movement. They get
off on the same self-serving values.
And Jeff offers much, much more along those lines. A point he makes that almost no one else ever seems to make: WADA is in the business of selling stuff. Specifically, their own, self-proclaimed ideal anti-doping program. It makes them millions a year. Baseball won’t bend over for WADA, however, and that makes the organization very, very angry. It makes them do things like be overly-critical of baseball despite the fact that it now has a pretty damn robust testing regime. No, not as robust as WADA would like, but if WADA had its way athletes’ diets would consist of WADA-approved non-PED-certified paste and they would have their blood drawn under threat of imprisonment.
Check out Jeff’s column today and remember it the next time someone who doesn’t have anything to do with baseball — especially someone with their own financial agenda and an almost non-existent grasp of the concept of civil liberties — starts pontificating about the game’s terrible, terrible PED problem.
There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).
Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:
The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.
Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.
Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.
Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.
Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.
The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.
Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.
While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.
Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.
After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.
It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.
Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.