Chicago White Sox Photo Day

Adam Dunn, David Wright have strong words for PED users


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 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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.