Chicago White Sox Photo Day

Adam Dunn, David Wright have strong words for PED users

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People like to talk about how the players all protect their own when it comes to PEDs, but if that was ever the case it isn’t anymore. We’ve seen a few examples recently of players calling out their PED-using colleagues. Today there are two high profile examples. Adam Dunn and David Wright.

Dunn, while noting that people will always try to cheat, both in baseball and other walks of life, tells CSNChicago.com that taking PEDs is “stupid,” “selfish” and “scary.” He’s most upset, though, about the cloud it casts on everyone:

“What makes me mad is when you go back and look at your career, everyone is always going to lump all of us into the PED steroid era. That’s not fair. That’s not fair to guys like [Ken Griffey] Junior who did it the right way for a long, long time. I’m not saying he’ll get lumped into it, but he played in that era and that’s not fair to those guys who did it the right way and were very, very successful, and to have a few guys ruin it.”

He’s right. It’s not fair. And I think the reason it’s done is because the idea that there are some people who cheat and some people who don’t and that we can’t know who does and who doesn’t is somehow too complex for a lot of baseball writers to handle. Guys who are in the business of declaring this or that the best or worst thing ever can’t abide something with that level of dissonance or ambiguity, so they have to take that extra step and consider an entire generation tainted, when (a) there is absolutely nothing compelling them to do so; and (b) doing so is exceedingly unfair to those who did not and do not use.

As for Wright:

“If you cheat, I hope you get caught,” David Wright told the Daily News. “I don’t care if you’re with the same agency I’m with or not. If you’re a cheater, I hope you get caught, and I hope you get punished.”

I’m often called a PED apologist, but I don’t disagree at all with Wright. My issue comes when people talk smack about people who were not “caught” under any reasonable or reliable definition of that term, have not and maybe will not be punished and who are still nonetheless called cheaters.

We have a testing system. We either trust it or we don’t. I say we need to trust it or else it has no purpose.

Astros sign Carlos Beltran to one-year, $16 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Carlos Beltran #36 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.

In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.

The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:

Rays and Braves reportedly interested in Welington Castillo

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 27: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits an RBI double in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.

The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.

Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.