The Indians just had three recent signees from the Dominican Republic get suspended for pre-signing PED use. The team is as mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore. Indians’ scouting director John Mirabelli:
“I’ve got no sympathy for these guys. They broke the law. They
fraudulently tried to misrepresent their abilities to us to get a
higher signing bonus. They were all educated on this drug testing for a
long time . . . “We see a player, we evaluate him. We verbally agree on a contract. Then
we say you’re taking a drug test before we sign the contract. It’s an
added expense to the process, but we’re going to try and include our own
Given the investments involved the Indians are probably pretty smart to do this. These guys were apparently kind of dumb about the timing of it all, but you have to figure that there are a number of amateurs down there who juice up while being scouted, give teams an inflated sense of their strength and speed and then go off the stuff and reveal themselves to be lesser players once minor league testing kicks in.
The problem, of course, is that not all amateurs are going to fit that profile or, alternatively, may juice pre-signing but still wind up being fantastic players after they cycle off. Those guys may want to avoid the Indians — and maybe the “five or six other teams” who are doing this, according to the article — for fear of testing positive for PEDs. This, of course, would ultimately work to the benefit of teams who don’t test prior to signing.
I guess if I were the Indians and the handful of other team doing this, I’d push hard to get Major League Baseball as a whole to join in on a pre-signing testing regime rather than go it alone.
The Kansas City Star has covered the death of Yordano Ventura and its aftermath in a thorough, thoughtful, respectful and admirable fashion and it has all been compelling to read, even if it’s often been difficult to read. Their latest story may be the most difficult, though it is nonetheless essential.
It covers the final year of Ventura’s life which, sadly, was tumultuous. He had become estranged from his family. He was married to a woman who, at the time of the ceremony, was still married to her first husband and whose family, allegedly, later made threats against Ventura that we’re only now learning about. This includes allegations of armed men accosting Ventura at his home near the Royals spring training facility a year ago. An incident which led to him missing time due to “flulike symptoms,” but which, in reality, caused him considerable mental distress. He was again threatened, it is claimed, in Kansas City during the season. There is also an allegation that Ventura attempted suicide via an overdose of Benadryl, though that is disputed.
Beyond that, there is an arc to the end of Ventura’s life which sounds unfortunately familiar. It’s a story of a young man whose life changed dramatically in a very, very short period of time and who struggled at times to process the changes. Were it not for a fateful drive on a dark and winding road one night in late January, they all could’ve been things that, as his career matured, he could look back on as learning experiences. Now that he’s gone, however, they form the final, tragic chapter.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.