That story in which Melky Cabrera’s agents — the Levinsons — are alleged to have facilitated clients’ acquisition of PEDs by setting up checking accounts and things? It’s being corroborated, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The problem? The chief corroborator is Kirk Radomski:
“I will corroborate the relationship I had with Paul and the Levinsons,” Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant, said in a telephone interview. “I met players through their agents. I met players through other players.”
Obviously Radomski would be in a position to know — he’s the PED dealer at the center of the allegations, so what he says is relevant. But he also has extreme credibility problems. His testimony at the Roger Clemens trial was pretty destructive to the government’s case. Mostly because it differed from his testimony before the grand jury. Which differed from the accounts in the book he wrote (and for which he received a $450,000 advance).
While MLB took Radomski’s word as gospel for the Mitchell Report, one would hope that if baseball is going to make a case against the Levinsons for being in the PED business, it’s going to rely on someone besides Radomski to do so.
Last night Robinson Cano hit a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Mariners’ loss to the Texas Rangers. It was his 22nd on the season. Though it was insignificant to the outcome of that game, it was significant to Cano: it was his 300th career homer.
While we’ve become accustomed to not caring much about home run milestones south of, say, 500, 300 homers for Cano is a big deal, as he’s only the third second baseman to cross that threshold in baseball history. The other two: Jeff Kent, at 377, and Rogers Hornsby at 301.
Cano, who turns 35 next month, has a career line of .305/.354/.495 and 1,179 RBI, 512 doubles and 33 triples to go with those bombs. He’s in his 13th big league season and still has six more years left on his deal with the Mariners. He’s averaged 24 homers a year since coming to the Mariners. While he’ll obviously trail off at some point — and while great second baseman’s have this weird habit of just suddenly falling off a cliff — it’s highly likely that he’ll finish his career as the all-time home run leader among second baseman. If he remains healthy he should also get over 3,000 hits in his career.
Cooperstown, here he comes.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that the Reds have signed catcher Tucker Barnhart to a four-year contract extension. The terms: $16 million total, with a $7.5 million club option for the 2022 season that has a $500,000 buyout. He also received a $1.75 million signing bonus.
The deal buys out all three of his arbitration years — he was going to be eligible for the first time this offseason — and the first year of his potential free agency. The club option buys a second. Barnhart made $575,000 this season.
Barnhart, 26, is finishing his second season as the Reds primary catcher. This year he’s hitting .272/.349/.399 with six homers and 42 RBI in 113 games. For his career he has a line of .257/.328/.366 in 330 major league games. His real value is defensive, however. He leads the National League in caught stealing percentage and number of base stealers caught (31-for-70, 44%) and leads all players at any position in the league in defensive WAR according to Baseball-Reference.com.