I spoke to a source with Major League Baseball this afternoon who tells me that MLB will investigate Curt Schilling’s claim on ESPN radio yesterday afternoon that a Boston Red Sox employee told him he should take PEDs when he was suffering from shoulder trouble in 2008.
The source did not say what, exactly, would be done, but it’s hard to see how any investigation of this claim does not begin with Schilling himself. Earlier today Schilling said he would not identify who told him to take PEDs in 2008. It will be interesting to see if he is any more forthcoming to the league.
Meanwhile, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com spoke with a source who thinks Schilling is making a mountain out of a molehill:
… a source familiar with the situation said, “I’m sure if anyone said something like that, it wasn’t meant to be serious. I would bet my bottom dollar on that.”
Also this afternoon, Evan Drellich of MLB.com reported that team president/CEO Larry Lucchino said that the Boston Red Sox will look into the claim itself. As Schilling noted in his interview, however, the person is no longer employed by the Red Sox.
Baseball news has been dominated by drug stories for the past week and change. It looks like it will continue to be so dominated for a while longer. But it is worth observing that Major League Baseball seems as serious about investigating an allegation relating to team personnel and PEDs as it is in investigating players who allegedly used. Which is a good thing.
The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.
Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.
Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”
Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.
The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.