Maury Brown has a list of all of the PED suspensions since the drug testing regime came into play. There have been sixteen major and minor league players suspended for drugs in 2010 (all but Volquez were minor leaguers actually). Of those, ten were pitchers. Indeed, since the advent of drug testing, the majority of drug suspensions have been pitchers.
Why then, do we continue to discount all of the offensive records that were set during the Steroids Era, and say so little about the pitching marks? Or, for that matter, why don’t we think of the offensive marks as greater, as opposed to lesser accomplishments, given that they were achieved against pitchers who were cheating at higher rates than hitter were?
My guess: people have a much greater sentimental attachment to the slugging records, the most significant of which were last set in the era of Maris, Mantle and Aaron (i.e. when the modern outraged sportswriter was a kid), so that it’s much more satisfying to assume that the new sluggers are the illegitimate ones, not the pitchers.
Going just by the numbers, however, it seems that the juiced hitters who have become the receptacle of our collective scorn were facing an awful lot of juiced pitchers.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.
The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.
Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.
We wait see.
The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.
That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.
Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.