Boston Red Sox

Pedro Martinez: “I did it clean and my integrity is right where it belongs”

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Pedro Martinez was in attendance for David Ortiz’s celebrity golf fundraiser in the Dominican Republic yesterday and he had some interesting things to say about the steroids era and his own legacy.

What Martinez did during his career was impressive enough without context, but many have wondered what his numbers would have looked like if everyone was on an even playing field. Martinez wonders the same thing, but told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that he has no regrets.

“I never had a complaint. I don’t have it. I think I did it the best way possible,” he said on Friday. “What would have happened if I had a level playing field? It’s something to be guessed. This is the same body that you saw, except for a couple of more pounds.”

With a hotly-contested Hall of Fame vote just weeks away, Martinez offered no firm opinion on the candidacies of Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, but noted that they had impressive statistics before “everything exploded.”

“It’s really difficult for me to choose either one. I would have loved to face Roger Clemens when he was Roger Clemens with nothing. I would have loved to face him all the time.

There has never been any evidence to suggest that Martinez used performance-enhancing drugs during his playing career, so he should be a no-brainer, first-ballot Hall of Famer when he’s first eligible two years from now. But he still made it a point to say that he was clean and played the game the right way.

“I was clean. I know I was clean. That’s all I can say. I was out there and they got the best out of me. Beat me or not, that was the best I had, and clean. I wish it were the same way for every one of them.”

“In my last years with the Mets, I was pushed too far. I was going too far with the pain. I did it naturally, I rehabbed naturally. I went through struggles a lot naturally. Today I can actually sit back, relax and enjoy the flight because I did it clean and my integrity is right where it belongs.”

I don’t mean to single out Martinez here and I’d like to think that he was clean since he was one of my favorite players ever, but it would have been nice to see some of these guys speak out while they were still playing. Perhaps we’d have less irresponsible guesswork being done by columnists who have these player’s legacies in their hands.

Phillies sign outfielder Michael Saunders

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 3: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays runs to first after being walked during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 3, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.

Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.

The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.