Major League Baseball just released Bud Selig’s official statement on the new Melky Cabrera Rule. And — as I’m sure all of you will love — it opens up a whole new avenue of PED punishment and debate:
“After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera’s request,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera’s peers who are contending for the batting crown.”
Very nice of him, but now, apparently, the PED offender’s level of “regret” is relevant. Fifty games and millions in fines will not be considered enough in the court of public opinion. Whether a PED user is truly remorseful will depend on whatever ad-hoc grand gesture of contrition he makes over and above the suspension and forfeited salary.
If Melky will give up his batting title, what will the next guy have to do? How many columns will be written by awards and Hall of Fame voters judging the player’s level of regret and finding it wanting? Heck, they do that already. As of today, however, they have an official diktat of Major League Baseball with which to justify their sanctimony.
All I know is that if I were Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, I’d call a press conference tomorrow in which I officially remove myself from Hall of Fame consideration for one year. I declare that, because of my baseball sins, I do not feel worthy to be on the first ballot for which I am eligible, and do not wish to be considered among the great men who were first ballot inductees. I would go on about how I am remorseful for my actions. I’d even throw a bone to Jack Morris, saying I don’t want to be unfair to him for extra credit.
I bet people would eat that up. It’d get them in the Hall of Fame faster than they otherwise would. Melky and Major League Baseball have shown us the way.
Kurt Suzuki will wear a Braves’ uniform through the 2018 season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million extension with the club on Saturday, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal adds that the two had been in talks for weeks and Suzuki made it clear that he wanted to remain in Atlanta for the foreseeable future. The team has yet to announce the extension.
Suzuki, 33, initially signed a one-year contract with the Braves back in January. The veteran backstop stepped into a backup role behind starting catcher Tyler Flowers, but still found a way to impress at the plate with a .271/.343/.525 batting line, career-best 18 home runs and an .868 OPS through 287 PA. According to FanGraphs, Suzuki’s 2.2 fWAR makes 2017 his most valuable season since his run with the 2009 Athletics.
It’s a prudent move for the Braves, who would have lost one of their most dynamic second-half hitters to the free agent market this offseason. Entering Saturday, Suzuki is second only to Freddie Freeman with 11 homers and 1.4 fWAR since the All-Star break. His stunning comeback also confirmed the team’s decision to look outside the organization for a backup catcher, rather than turning to fellow veteran Anthony Recker behind the plate.
“On a personal level, this season exceeded my expectations,” Suzuki told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s just one of those things I can’t explain. I put a lot of work in and really didn’t have a job until late January. I got an opportunity here and took advantage of it. It was definitely a good fit.”
Tigers’ outfielder Mikie Mahtook is unlikely to play again this season, club manager Brad Ausmus announced Saturday. Mahtook was diagnosed with a Grade 2 left groin strain following Friday’s series opener against the Twins, when he appeared to injure himself after chasing down Byron Buxton‘s two-RBI double in the fourth.
This is the second time Mahtook has sustained a groin injury over the past month. The 27-year-old exited Friday’s game with a .276/.330/.457 batting line, 12 home runs and a .787 OPS through 379 plate appearances with the team.
With the Tigers out of contention, there’s no reason to trot out Mahtook for the remaining eight games of the regular season. The club has yet to specify a timetable for his return, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t be in fine shape to compete for a starting role next spring.