Some of us blog about baseball for money. Most blog about baseball for the love. Then — sometimes — someone blogs about baseball for a good cause. That’s what’s going on at Old Time Family Baseball this weekend, and for that reason you should check it out.
This Saturday, January 14th, Old Time Family Baseball’s proprietor, Michael Clair, will be doing a blogathon, posting every half hour for 24 hours to support Doctor’s Without Borders. As Mike explains here, all of the posts will be freshly written (i.e. he won’t be pre-writing stuff and setting it to post later). The fundraising page is here, and I’d humbly ask that you consider donating to what is an outrageously worthy cause.
I generally try to post things here at HBT every half hour during the day. I almost always fail. Why? Because it’s friggin’ hard to keep that up. So you can probably imagine that Mike is going to be really tired come Sunday, January 15. Which is why he has asked for guest blog posts that day. I am one of the guest bloggers, and my post is about “baseball shame.” To read it, you’ll have to go check out Old Time Family Baseball on Sunday. I’ll remind you all about it again later.
Anyway, please consider checking out the blogathon and visiting the donation page. And even if you don’t do that, at least watch Old Time Family Baseball to see if Mike goes crazy by around hour 17. Which I’m almost 100% certain will happen.
Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.
Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.
Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.
Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):
We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.