Another call for teams to vacate wins when a player gets a PED suspension

20 Comments

We dealt with this last month, but Jeff Miller of the OC Register goes there anyway. After lamenting that the Angels and Dodgers were victimized by the A’s and Giants due to the latters’ employment of Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, Miller thinks that something more needs to be done:

The NCAA certainly wouldn’t permit this sort of thing. Officials already would have limited contact with free agents, stripped TV money and given the A’s and Giants the sort of probation usually reserved for the truly offensive, like Lindsay Lohan. Seriously, shouldn’t the A’s and Giants, for at least the rest of the regular season, be forced to wear ankle weights or something? Shouldn’t they be handicapped in some way?

They directly benefitted from performance-enhancing drugs, reached their lofty perches in part through fraud, and the only price they’ve paid is the loss of the offending player? Hardly seems right.

So Miller goes to FanGraphs, reads Melky and Colon’s WAR for the year and suggests that MLB dock the Giants and A’s 4.5 and 2.3 wins a piece. Because (a) the NCAA is obviously a great example to follow when it comes to sensible justice; and (b) it’s totally workable to simply deduct wins from a major league baseball team’s totals.

But that’s not my favorite point he makes. No, my favorite point is the one in which, after suggesting extreme measures be taken to level and uneven playing field, he says this:

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? The A’s and Giants received a boost in the standings. The Angels and Dodgers continue to receive a kick in the teeth.

I’m not for salary caps or the selective legalization of PED use, but two Southern California teams that can and do so thoroughly outspend their rivals in the Bay Area are probably not the first ones anyone wants to hear complain about things not being fair.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

Getty Images
7 Comments

Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.