Answering questions on Twitter Saturday, Curt Schilling said that Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds were the best hitters he encountered during his time on the mound, but that some artificial enhancement might have helped with that.
From Schilling’s @gehrig38 account:
Best modern day hitter, Manny RH Barry LH when they cheated, Gonzo LH Pujols RH of non cheaters
It’s safe to assume the Gonzalez he’s referring to is former teammate Luis Gonzalez, a player who certainly belongs in the suspicious category when it comes to steroid use. Gonzalez never hit more than 15 homers in a season until age 30. At 33, he busted out with 57 homers, a total he never approached in any other season.
Of course, Gonzalez seems like a pretty ridiculous choice even assuming that he was clean. Of left-handed batters with at least 3,000 plate appearances since 1990, he ranks 42nd with a 118 OPS+. Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr. and Todd Helton are just a few of the guys that blow him out of the water.
It’s also worth noting that cheating or no, Ramirez isn’t quite in Pujols’ league as a hitter. Their best seasons match up pretty well, but Pujols’ incredible consistency can’t be beat.
Other notes from Schilling:
Best gamer, videos, teammate = Pedroia, Toughest out (runner 3rd less than 2 outs?) Gwynn, Nomar = not what I expected,
Varitek, Tommy Greene hardest workers, Mirabelli, Kevin Jordan favorite teammates, San Diego favorite city to travel if I wasn’t pitching
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.