I’m nonplussed. Like I totally lack plus. Plus-free zone here. Not a single plus was given this day.
Via Neyer, comes Mike Silva’s interview with John Rocker from the other night in which the pumped up fireballer with anger issues — shockingly — admitted to using steroids during his career. Here’s Silva:
I was surprised by his admission to taking steroids, so I asked him again if he was taking some sort of PED in 1999. “Yeah, of course I was. I mean who wasn’t? Let’s be honest here, who wasn’t?”
And there was a positive drug test to prove it, Rocker says. The league asked him to take drug tests after the infamous Sports Illustrated article, he did and in his own words he “failed miserably.” Neyer has some very apt words about what that all means. Basically: Selig was willingly blind to PEDs for years beyond the P.R. implications of it all. It’s undeniable and has been for some time.
Look, I’m the first one to criticize anyone who plays the “of course he was on steroids! Just look at him!” card. But in Rocker’s case? Dudes, really.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.