David Ortiz Reuters

How long will players be under suspicion for PED use because they fought testing in the 90s?


Gregg Doyel has a column up at CBS Sports.com talking about that whole David Ortiz-Dan Shaughnessy flap from last week in which Shaughnessy basically said it was cool to assume Ortiz was on PEDs because he was hitting well at the time. Doyel’s not a big fan of how Shaughnessy raised the issue — he said he did it “clumsily” — but he thinks it is fair game to make such assumptions/accusations of baseball players.


This is the players’ fault.

They’re the ones who cheated their ass off in the 1990s, injecting steroids like insulin because owners were digging the long ball. They’re the ones whose union fought against drug-testing for years. Hell, one of Ortiz’s former teammates in Boston will tell you that.

Players are the ones who even now are finding new ways to cheat, because a drug test catches only what it’s looking for. And since chemists keep creating new drugs that the testers know nothing about, well, you see the problem.

The cheaters win. The smart ones, anyway.

Does that mean David Ortiz, already linked to PEDs once in his career, is dirty this year? Nope. Not at all.

But it’s not stupid to wonder. Given the history here—not just of David Ortiz, but of baseball in general—it would be stupid not to.

We’ve had a testing system in baseball now for many years. Close to a decade, actually. While I sorta guess I can see why Ortiz gets this stuff thrown on him — he tested positive once a long time ago — I feel like Doyel’s defense of PED accusations is way more open-ended than just accusing David Ortiz. He’s saying “baseball in general” is under suspicion despite the fact that the guys who were leading the union back when drug testing was being resisted are retired now. And despite the fact that guys who are active in the game now were children when that went down. Are we stupid not to suspect them too?

Bryce Harper. Is it fair to ask him if he’s taking PEDs? Reading Doyel’s column, one would assume he thinks it’s OK. Baseball players cheat and back in the 1990s they didn’t want testing, so it’s cool to ask Bryce Harper to prove he didn’t, yes? How about Matt Harvey? How about anyone else?

Or perhaps we can start treating PEDs in baseball the way we treat any transgression in life: we make accusations where there is reason to do so, and not before. And those who make accusations without basis for doing so are the ones who should feel shame, not the ones who are baselessly accused.

Or am I just being naive again?

Marc Anthony gets into the agent business, signs Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman

There is a somewhat mixed history of entertainers and musicians getting into the sports agent business. Sometimes it works out (Jay-Z has done OK). Sometimes it doesn’t (Master P says “Hi”).

Add another one to the list. A pretty big one. Ken Rosenthal reports that Marc Anthony’s Magnus Media is getting into sports. And the company, Magnus Sports, just signed a new client: Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. From Rosenthal:

The company said in a news release that it will team with a baseball agency, Praver Shapiro Sports Management — and that the group’s first major client will be Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

Praver Shapiro represents a number of Latin players, including Marlinsshortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler, Reds pitcherRaisel Iglesias and free-agent third baseman Juan Uribe.

Chapman is on the trading block right now but 2016 is his walk year, and barring injury he’ll due for perhaps the biggest payday a closer has ever seen. Whether he’ll actually get it depends on the negotiating skills of the biggest salsa artist the world has ever seen.

Gentlemen: you have a year to get some song title pun/headlines ready.

Orioles interested in Denard Span

Denard Span
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting that the Orioles have “some level” of interest in free agent outfielder Denard Span. The Nationals did not make a $15.8 million qualifying offer to Span, which means he doesn’t come attached with draft pick compensation unlike other free agents such as Alex Gordon and Dexter Fowler.

Span, who turns 32 in February, hit a solid .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI, 38 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases, but took only 275 plate appearances due to back and hip injuries. He underwent season-ending hip surgery in September but is expected to be ready to participate in spring training.

The Mets and Royals have also reportedly shown interest in Span’s services.

Blue Jays showing interest in Ryan Madson

Ryan Madson
AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Blue Jays are on the prowl for relievers with closing experience. Ryan Madson is one of the names on their list.

Madson, 35, had a career rebirth with the Royals in 2015. He signed a minor league deal with the club that paid him a salary of $850,000 if he made it back to the majors. Due to a plethora of arm injuries, Madson hadn’t pitched in the majors since Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals as a member of the Phillies. For the Royals, he wound up becoming a crucial member of the bullpen, finishing with a 2.13 ERA and a 58/14 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings.

While Madson allowed five runs in 8 1/3 post-season innings, he pitched well when it mattered most, as he hurled three scoreless frames in three appearances in the World Series against the Mets.

Madson has closing experience, with 55 career saves. 32 of them came in 2011 when he took over the closer’s role from Brad Lidge.

After signing Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, and trading for Jesse Chavez, the Jays have bolstered their rotation but it was reported on Saturday that interim GM Tony LaCava is still focused on upgrading the pitching staff.

Trevor Cahill considering the Pirates as a potential destination

Trevor Cahill
AP Photo/Paul Beaty

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that free agent pitcher Trevor Cahill is looking for a one-year, bounce-back deal. The Pirates are one of the potential teams he is considering.

It’s no surprise that the Pirates are on Cahill’s list. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage has garnered a reputation as a miracle worker after turning around the careers of a handful of pitchers, including Edinson Volquez, Francisco Liriano, and J.A. Happ. Volquez parlayed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Pirates into a two-year, $20 million deal with the Royals last December. Liriano signed with the Pirates on a one-year, $1 million contract and turned that into a three-year, $39 million deal. Happ, dealt to the Pirates from the Mariners at the most recent trade deadline, just signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Blue Jays.

Cahill, once a highly-regarded pitching prospect, has scuffled over parts of seven seasons in the majors. The 27-year-old owns a career 4.13 ERA with a 754/427 K/BB ratio in 1,083 2/3 innings. Cahill had some brief success after signing with the Cubs as a free agent in mid-August, compiling a 2.12 ERA in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.