Yet another writer accuses Jose Bautista of PED use

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Bob Frantz of the San Francisco Examiner wrote an odious little column today in which he accused Jose Bautista of using performance enhancing drugs.

Well, he didn’t directly accuse him of doing so. No, he’s far too savvy for that.  He merely wrote that “questions remain” regarding Bautista. Said that “normal men don’t go from 13 home runs as a part-time utility player one year to 52 home runs.” He merely suggested that Bautista submit to urine and blood tests and then have the results released to the public. He then blamed his suspicion and subtle character assassination on Jose Canseco, Rafael Palmiero, Roger Clemens and other people who presumably do not have editorial control over Frantz’s columns at the Examiner.

Of course, the fact that he blames Canseco et al, for his own cynical and evidence-free
suspicions of Bautista is intellectual dishonesty at its finest. He clearly suspects
Bautista of using PEDs. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have been
inspired to write this piece. Well, he wouldn’t have unless the piece itself is a cynical exercise in filling column inches and stirring the pot by peddling crap that the author does not himself believe, but let’s save that for another time.

For now let us merely note that if Frantz has the guts to make an actual accusation, he should make it. To state, in plain language, that he doubts that Bautista’s accomplishments are genuine. To do otherwise — to make oblique reference to
the mere possibility that Bautista cheated and to blame
figures who haven’t played baseball for several years for “the questions
that remain” — is cowardly.
 
And that goes not only for Frantz, but for anyone who wishes to join in the increasingly popular pastime of trashing Jose Bautista. Ladies and gentlemen: if you have evidence, or even reasonable suspicion that Bautista — a
player who has had at least two PED tests this season — has used PEDs,
come out and say it.  If you don’t, please spare us your insinuations to
the contrary.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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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.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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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.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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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.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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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.