Trevor Gretzky

2011 Draft – Rounds 6-10 wrapup: Trevor Gretzky to the Cubs

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The Cubs picked one of the draft’s biggest names in the seventh, grabbing Wayne Gretzky’s son, Trevor, a high school first baseman.

Trevor Gretzky, who was the backup quarterback to Nick Montana (Joe’s son) on his Oaks Christian high school football team, is thought to be on his way to San Diego State.  At 6’4″ and 190 pounds, he’s thought to have pretty good power potential.  Still, most didn’t believe he’d go this high.  Bloodlines probably played a role in his selection, but given that very few players outside of the first few rounds go on to make the majors, one can’t blame the Cubs for wagering a seventh-round selection on the Great One’s progeny.

Other notes:

Four rounds after taking Vandy’s Jason Esposito, the Orioles picked another highly regarded third baseman, high scholer Nick Delmonico, in the sixth.  Back problems apparently scared some teams off.  He’s also committed to Georgia and may opt for school after getting drafted so much lower than expected.  He was viewed as a catcher by some, but the Orioles are going to see if he can make it at the hot corner.  His left-handed bat promises 20-homer power, and he’s quite discliplined for a high school product.

– The Padres went for Kyle Gaedele in the sixth.  He’s the great-nephew of tiny major leaguer Eddie Gaedel and a pretty fine prospect with ample power.  For thos curious, he stands 6’3″ and weighs 220 pounds.

– One pick later, the Rangers chose Derek Fisher at No. 204.  He’ll be an expensive sign if the team is going to lure him away from the University of Virginia, but he projects as a power-hitting left fielder.

– And one pick after that, Reds scouting director Chris Buckley chose his son, third baseman Sean Buckley.  It was actually something of a surprise he waited until round six to do so.  Sean was being looked at as a fourth or fifth rounder by teams other than Cincinnati.

– Oregon State’s Josh Osich, who missed the 2010 season following Tommy John surgery, was viewed by some as the top pitcher left on the board after rounds four and five.  The Giants grabbed him at No. 207.  He may have a future as an eighth-inning guy.

– Ivan Rodriguez’s son — also named Ivan, but who goes by Dereck — was picked by the Twins in round six.  He might have been a better prospect as a pitcher, but he wants to stick in the outfield.

– The Cards picked Kansas State outfielder Nick Martini in the seventh.  He hit just one homer in 221 at-bats this season, but he had a .503 OBP as a sophomore and a .442 mark this season.  At one point, he reached base in 93 straight games.  Unfortunately, he figures to move to left field in the pros and he’s going to have to show some power if he’s going to be a success there.

– The Pirates made another nice upside pick to begin the ninth round, selecting right-hander Clay Holmes.  The Auburn commit touches 95 mph with his fastball and has a promising curve.

– Milwaukee went with Dustin Houle in the eighth and will give him a look as a catcher.  The native of Canada was primarily a third baseman in high school.

– The Red Sox are going to see if Travis Shaw’s bat translates to wood after selecting him in the ninth.  The Kent State product hit .307/.405/.553 with 14 homers this season.  He’s sure-handed at third, but he lacks range.

– I haven’t written much about the Diamondbacks, but I do believe they’ve had a really good draft.  In the 10th, they took a flier on Kyle Winkler, a teammate of Matt Purke’s at TCU and another anticipated tough sign.   Baseball America rated him the draft’s No. 43 prospect.

Dee Gordon’s suspension is likely to lead to a call for harsher PED penalties

Miami Marlins' Dee Gordon celebrates after hitting a double against the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Miami. Derek Dietrich scored on the double. The Tigers won 8-7. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Associated Press
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Objectively speaking there is no difference between Dee Gordon’s suspension for PEDs and anyone else’s. Abraham Almonte, for example. Or Cameron Maybin. Or David Rollins. All were guys who got their 80 games, served their time, came back and whose cases didn’t raise too much of a fuss. But Gordon’s suspension will almost certainly be talked about longer and more loudly and will likely lead to calls for harsher penalties and changes to the PED suspension rules.

Part of it is simply fame. He’s a pretty big name as far as these things go. The biggest since the Biogenesis guys a couple of years ago. He won the batting title last year. He’s the son of a famous major leaguer. There is a direct correlation between the volume and intensity of the narratives applied to one’s story and the fame of the subject of the story. For that reason alone Gordon’s story will last longer and loom larger.

Another reason — a bigger reason, I think — is timing. Gordon was seen by many to have had a breakout season in 2015 and, when it was over, he was rewarded for it with a nice five-year $50 million deal. The narrative will arise by, oh, 9AM today, that the suspension was “worth it” for Gordon and that he cashed in because of it, rendering his suspension a mere slap on the wrist. This is especially true given that his deal is severely backloaded. He’ll lose less than $2 million in salary in 2016 while collecting the other $48 million-plus. Totally worth it!

I understand why people will say that, but such a stance has some serious flaws. Among them:

  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows when Gordon began to take PEDs;
  • It assumes that we or anyone else knows how, in fact, Gordon’s performance was actually enhanced;
  • It forgets that lots and lots of people were talking about how Gordon’s “breakout season” was actually 2014, not 2015, rendering that whole “he juiced and then got his money” argument fairly problematic.

Those points will likely be ignored as arguments in favor of harsher penalties grow louder. Ken Rosenthal reminds us this morning that some have called for some form of contract voiding or clawing back of more money than just the salary earned while on suspension. Those calls too will likely grow louder. There will also be calls for changes in the appeal process. Like this one, which came moments after Gordon’s suspension was announced:

When you have an actual union member angrily call for the repeal of a collectively-bargained protection in punishment situations, you’re sort of through the looking glass. Or past a tipping point. Or something. You’re certainly in a world where the usual dynamics between employer and employee are not operative and, as a result, changes are inevitable. As we noted recently, players today are perhaps more adamantly anti-PED than the owners and the league are. They’re competitors reacting to cheating by their competition. The fuel for stronger penalties is likely to come more from them than anyone.

The union and the league will be negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement this year. Performance enhancing drugs and their penalties will be a part of that. Expect harsher penalties and possibly different sorts of rules altogether. Expect Dee Gordon to be the poster child for these changes, even if his case is no different in form than that of Abraham Almonte, Cameron Maybin, or David Rollins. Expect emotion, rather than logic, to lead the coming debate.

And That Happened: Thursdays scores and highlights

Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Arodys Vizcaino, right, is congratulated by catcher Tyler Flowers after earning a save during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston, Thursday, April 28, 2016. The Braves defeated the Red Sox 5-3. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
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Gonna mail this one in this morning. Partially because of the light slate of games yesterday, partially because of a late night for me but mostly because of the Dee Gordon news which has me thinking of a lot of other things I want to write about this AM.

It’s worth noting that the Braves won a game. It comes just ahead of a series at Wrigley against the Cubs, so the winning streak will likely last a single day, but the 2016 Braves have to take what they can get.

The Marlins had a notable night outside the Gordon news too, finishing off a sweep of the Dodgers, which had to make Don Mattingly happy. For what it’s worth, Gordon singled in a run and then came around to score in the seventh. His RBI tied it and the run he scored ended up being the one necessary for the Marlins’ margin of victory. That means nothing, but you know some jackwagons are gonna make a big deal out of that and I figured I’d get ahead of the jackwagons and note that, yes, Gordon and the Marlins knew what was coming before it was announced because that’s how the appeals process works, but no, it makes no difference, because that’s how the appeals process works.

Anyway: Here are the rest of the scores:

Tigers 7, Athletics 3
Cubs 7, Brewers 2
Phillies 3, Nationals 0
Orioles 10, White Sox 2
Braves 5, Red Sox 3
Diamondbacks 3, Cardinals 0
Marlins 5, Dodgers 3
Pirates vs. Rockies — POSTPONED
: In the early morning rain with a dollar in my hand. And an aching in my heart, and my pockets full of sand. I’m a long way from home, and I miss my loved one so. In the early morning rain with no place to go.

Marlins 2B Dee Gordon suspended 80 games for PEDs

deegordon
Getty Images
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LOS ANGELES — Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games by Major League Baseball after the Miami Marlins second baseman tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Gordon tested positive for exogenous Testosterone and Clostebol, MLB said in a release after the Marlins’ 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

The fleet-footed Gordon won the National League batting title by hitting .333 last season and signed a $50 million, 5-year deal with Miami in January. He’s made two All-Star teams in his six seasons and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards at second base last year.

Gordon, the son of former major league pitcher Tom Gordon, had a key hit in Miami’s win over the Dodgers on Thursday. He’s batting .266 with six stolen bases this season.

Dee Gordon is a very important part of our team, and we all love him and support him,” Marlins president David Samson said. “That said, I don’t like or condone what he did. He is an important member of this organization and will be for many years to come. It’s a huge, huge disappointment to the kids, to our fans, to his teammates and to everyone in our organization every single day.

“He will be back 80 games from now, and he will be welcomed back to this organization. But in the interim period, we expect him, and we are positive that he will do everything that’s necessary to make it up to his fans, to his teammates and to this organization.”

Devon Travis will start taking at-bats in extended spring training

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis hits a RBI double to center field against the Tampa Bay Rays during third inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)  MANDATORY CREDIT
Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP
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Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis underwent left shoulder surgery last September. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm caught up with Jays head athletic trainer George Poulis for updates on several injured players, including Travis. Here’s what Poulis had to say about Travis:

“He’s going to get some live at-bats with the extended team down in Florida on Friday. Big step for him, he’s very excited, he’s doing great, and we’re very optimistic, but no timeline right now on his return. We’re just going day by day, step by step.

“When you have something like that, it continues to heal even when you’re playing. We’re just trying to acclimate him and condition him to withstand all of the stress that he’s going to put on his shoulder … He won’t play in the field right now. We’ll mix that in, as well, but right now he’s just going to get some at-bats.”

The key phrase, of course, is “no timetable”. The second baseman’s rehab has gone slower than expected. Getting into some extended spring training games, though, signals progress.

Travis, 25, broke out last season, hitting .304/.361/.498 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 239 plate appearances last season. The Jays have had Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney handle second base duties this year, but their aggregate .560 OPS is the worst mark in the American League.