Former White Sox slugger and future Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, in New York for baseball’s first-year player draft, spoke to the media about the recent performance-enhancing drug controversy involving Biogenesis, flatly stating that PED users have no place in Cooperstown. Via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
He said he has spoken with numerous Hall of Famers recently while taking part in a series of charity games, and they’re strongly opposed to players with links to performance-enhancing drugs gaining entry to Cooperstown.
“They say, ‘Hell, no,'” Thomas said. “They don’t want any of these guys in. These are super-superstars in my eyes, and they’re serious about it. I would suggest you get around the Johnny Benches, the Ozzie Smiths, the Dave Winfields and Mike Schmidts. Hold court with them and see how they feel. I’ve talked to them and it was eye-opening.
One of the Hall of Famers Thomas mentions, Mike Schmidt, previously said he would have used PEDs if he had the opportunity and would welcome PED users to the Hall.
Schmidt in 2009:
“I’d welcome him if he got elected to the Hall of Fame,” Schmidt said of A-Rod. “I always seem to walk down the middle of the fence. I understand the old, hard-line guys that use the words, `he cheated, he cheated.’ And the other guys that go, `It was a culture thing back then.’ If you played then, you would have been tempted, too. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I don’t want to get that wrong. We’ve all got some things in our closet.”
Schmidt once again indicated that he would have been tempted to use steroids if presented with the chance to take them when he was playing. He had said that before.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.