Daily Dose: Reyes Ready to Return?

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Jose Reyes went 1-for-3 with two steals in an extended spring training game Monday and followed that up by going 2-for-5 with two walks in another extended spring game Tuesday night. Perhaps just as importantly, Reyes played all nine innings at shortstop, possibly signaling that he could be cleared to return from his thyroid disorder when eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend.
He hasn’t played a regular season game since May 20 and coming back from hamstring surgery made him a question mark even before the thyroid situation surfaced. No one seems quite sure what type of impact the thyroid condition could have once he returns and the hamstring problems could mean fewer steal attempts, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if Reyes ends up as a top-three fantasy shortstop. He’s still just 27 years old.
While the Mets hope to put Alex Cora back on the bench soon, here are some other notes from around baseball …


* After a visit with Dr. James Andrews and an MRI exam the news on Huston Street’s right shoulder is relatively positive. No structural damage was found, but he’s been diagnosed with inflammation and will need to do additional strengthening exercises before throwing again. There’s no timetable for Street’s return and he’s already had setbacks, so Franklin Morales should have closer value for at least the rest of April.
* If there was no such thing as a “save” the Twins probably would’ve left Matt Guerrier in to pitch the ninth inning Tuesday after he breezed through a 1-2-3 eighth inning on 11 pitches, but instead they brought in new closer Jon Rauch. And just like most quality relievers will do about 90 percent of the time, he was able to protect a two-run lead for one inning versus the bottom of the Angels’ lineup. So far so good replacing Joe Nathan.
* Rotoworld’s award-winning Season Pass product has subscriber-only columns, daily waiver wire and starting pitcher advice, extensive prospect coverage, detailed bullpen and rotation databases, frequently updated projections and rankings, and much, much more. If you’re not satisfied simply putting your teams on cruise control after draft day, Season Pass can help you make the most of this season.
* Out since breaking his thumb early in spring training, Alex Gordon is scheduled to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Single-A. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, but will need a little more time than that. Willie Bloomquist started in Gordon’s place on Opening Day, but thankfully for Royals fans’ remaining sanity Alberto Callaspo will be the primary fill-in once his own oblique injury clears up.
* If you do just one thing to enable someone’s addiction today, make it following me on Twitter.
AL Quick Hits: A.J. Burnett struggled Tuesday night against the Red Sox, so expect more rumblings about his compatibility with Jorge Posada … Gil Meche (shoulder) tossed five shutout innings in a minor-league game Tuesday and could be cleared to face the Red Sox this weekend … Mike Gonzalez blew a win for Kevin Millwood when Carl Crawford delivered a walk-off single Tuesday … With left-hander Jon Lester on the mound, the Yankees benched Brett Gardner for Marcus Thames and moved Curtis Granderson to the ninth spot Tuesday … Ken Griffey Jr. also sat against a left-hander Tuesday, with Eric Byrnes replacing him in the lineup and Milton Bradley moving to designated hitter … James Shields served up three solo homers in a no-decision Tuesday and faces the Yankees next … Jeff Mathis started Tuesday over Mike Napoli for the second straight game … Dioner Navarro started over Kelly Shoppach in the Rays’ opener Tuesday.
NL Quick Hits: Lance Berkman received a cortisone shot and had his surgically repaired knee drained, but there’s no timetable yet for his return … Corey Hart rejoined the Brewers’ lineup Tuesday after sitting in favor of Jim Edmonds on Opening Day … Ian Stewart missed the cycle by a single Tuesday and is sporting a nifty 2.357 OPS through two games … Barry Zito shut out the Astros for six innings Tuesday, winning his season debut for the first time since 2003 … Jeff Supppan (neck) is hoping to rejoin the Brewers’ rotation after making one minor-league rehab start later this week … Aroldis Chapman will make his pro debut Sunday at Triple-A … Jeff Francis (armpit) played catch Tuesday and is aiming for a rehab assignment next week … Chris Young looked like his old self Tuesday with six one-hit innings against his namesake in Arizona … Fred Lewis (ribs) is slated to begin a rehab stint Thursday at Triple-A and soon the Giants will have a decision to make on the out-of-options outfielder.

Marlins acquire starter Dan Straily from the Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 3: Dan Straily #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning of the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
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The Miami Marlins have acquired starting pitcher Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds. In exchange, the Reds will receive right-handed pitching prospects Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White.

For the Marlins, they get a solid starter who logged 191.1 innings of 113 ERA+ ball last year. Straily has moved around a lot in his five big league seasons — the Marlins will be his fifth club in six years — but it was something of a breakout year for him in Cincinnati. The only troubling thing: he tied for the league lead in homers allowed. Of course, pitching half of his games in Great American Ballpark didn’t help that, and Miami will be a better place for him.

Castillo is 24. He split last season between high-A and Double-A — far more of it in A-ball — posting a 2.26 ERA over 24 starts. Austin Brice is also 24. He pitched 15 games in relief for the Marlins last year at the big league level with poor results. He seemed to blossom at Triple-A, however, after the Marlins shifted him to the pen. White was a third round pick in the 2015 draft. He played low-A ball as a minor leaguer last year, hitting .214/.306/.301.

A mixed bag of young talent for the Reds, but stockpiling kids and seeing what shakes out is what a team like the Reds should be doing at the moment. For the Marlins: a solid mid-to-back end starter who may just be coming into his own.

Have Hall of Fame Voters actually made the PED thing More complicated?

Sammy Sosa
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The story coming out of this year’s Hall of Fame balloting is that the BBWAA voters are finally easing their antipathy toward players with performance enhancing drug associations.

Jeff Bagwell — the subject of unconfirmed PED rumors — made the Hall! Pudge Rodriguez, who was named in Jose Canseco’s book and who had a . . . curious physical transformation around the time PED testing came online, made it on the first ballot! Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, whose PED use was well-documented, saw their vote totals advance above the 50% mark, making their future elections look more likely!

It’s an interesting development, and one I’m obviously pleased with, but I wonder if the BBWAA’s new approach to PED guys, while far more forgiving than it used to be, has actually become more complicated in practice.

I ask this because I look way, way down the ballot and I still see Sammy Sosa scraping by with around 8% of the vote. I ask this because I still see Gary Sheffield at 13%. I ask this because when Mark McGwire was on the Today’s Game ballot in December, no one really stumped for him at all. I ask this because, even though Bagwell and Mike Piazza got in eventually, they still had to go through a lot of hazing first and I suspect, if they hit the ballot for the first time again tomorrow, the same arguments and delay would occur with respect to their cases.

In light of that, what I suspect has happened has not been a wholesale surrender of the anti-PED voters. Rather, I think it has been a transformation. One in which a moral test — did he use PEDs or not? — has been discarded as a threshold question and a scientific/physiological test — would he have been great even without the PEDs? — has replaced it. In essence, voters are becoming “PED discounters” in the aggregate. Making calculations as to whether a guy was, in their mind, a creation of PEDs or not.

Such an approach explains these new voting patterns as well as those in recent years.

  • Ivan Rodriguez may have been called out by Canseco and may have noticeably shrunk over an offseason, but his calling card was his defense behind the plate and voters, I suspect, have told themselves that such a thing is not PED-aided.
  • Bonds and Clemens may have been PED users, but each of them was undeniably talented and, if you discount for the PED use, hey, they’re still all-time greats.
  • Sammy Sosa’s case rests disproportionately on homers and, as everyone knows, PEDs = instant dingers, so no, he’s not gonna cut it.

And so on.

As I said, I’m glad that the strict moral test — did he use or not? — is losing its hold on Hall voters. But I do not think the “did PEDs make him who he was test?” is a good approach either. Baseball writers are in no better a position to assess the physiological and performance enhancements caused by pharmaceuticals than they are to be judges of character and morality. Given the identities of players confirmed to be PED users, the old eye test implicit in these cases is famously faulty (Neifi Perez, anyone?). The idea that PEDs only affect home run totals — and not, say, the ability for a player to take the abuse of the catcher position for 21 seasons — is crude and ignorant.

I suppose it’s naive to expect voters to completely disregard PEDs in their assessment of players. It’s a bell that cannot be unrung. But while we may, thankfully, be moving away from a moral test with respect to drugs, it’s been displaced by a scientific test that is no more reasonable in practice.