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
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.