MLB certainly has public opinion behind it on the 100-game suspension thing

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Not scientific, obviously, but I’m pretty sure you’d get the same results if Nate Silver, C-3PO and Marvin the paranoid android teamed up to calculate this bad boy:

source:

Probably worth noting that just about everything Major League Baseball has ever done with respect to PEDs has had its genesis in public relations disasters:

  • The league did not acknowledge PEDs as a problem until Jose Canseco and Ken Caminiti started talking about it in 2002;
  • It did not conduct an investigation into PEDs nor did it have anything approaching serious penalties for their use until the league and its players embarrassed themselves in front of Congress and other players began being called before the BALCO grand jury;
  • It’s been investigating PEDs in south Florida for several years but did not take any real action until Biogenesis was splashed all over the news in January.

The league has always been reacting. Even if it has come to genuinely care about PEDs in the game and even if does possess a strong and legitimate interest in punishing drug cheats — two things which I sincerely believe — the fact is that P.R. considerations have always been the most powerful catalyst for Major League Baseball’s actions regarding performance enhancing drugs.

I don’t know if MLB is actually seeking 100-game suspensions. I don’t know who’s leaking the notion that players could face such suspensions. It may be the league. It may be agents and lawyers for the players. But I do feel like, whoever is doing the leaking, Major League Baseball will walk away pretty pleased from all of this, no matter the length of the actual penalties assessed.

People think the league is getting tough. Even if they can’t make 100 games stick, the public is behind the effort and the players and their fancy lawyers will be blamed if they don’t. For once, Major League Baseball is ahead of the curve, public relations wise. Which even if it isn’t the primary goal here, you can bet is something with which the folks on Park Avenue are quite pleased.

source: Reuters

Rival Executives Expect Justin Verlander To Hit The Trading Block

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About a month ago, a report circulated that if the Detroit Tigers weren’t above .500 by the end of June, they were going to chuck the season, look to trade off veterans and rebuild. It’s now June 29 and the Tigers are 34-42 and sit six games out of first place.

As such, we should not be too terribly surprised to see a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo that multiple baseball executives expect Tigers ace Justin Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. Passan notes that the Tigers haven’t formally offered him and that he’s just passing along speculation from rivals, but it’s pretty astute speculation.

The question is what the Tigers can get for Verlander. On the one hand, yes, Verlander is Verlander and has been one of the top starters in baseball for a decade. While he had struggled for a bit, last year featured a return to Cy Young form. He still has a blazing fastball and there is no reason to think he could not anchor the staff of a playoff caliber team.

On the other hand, as Passan notes, his 2017 has been . . . not so good. He looks amazing at times and very hittable at other times. Overall his walk rate is way up and his strikeout rate is down. There doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with him — various ailments contributed to his 2014-15 swoon — so it’s possible he’s just had a rough couple of months. Like I said, Verlander is Verlander, and it may not be a bad gamble to expect him to run off a string of dominant starts like he has so many times in the past.

The problem, though, is that anyone acquiring Verlander is not just gambling on a handful of starts down the stretch. They’re gambling on the $56 million he’s owed between 2018 and 2019 and the $22 million extra he’ll be guaranteed for 2020 if he finishes in the top five in Cy Young voting in 2019. Those would be his age 35, 36 and 37 seasons. There are certainly worse gambles in baseball, but it’s a gamble all the same.

If the Tigers don’t find any gamblers out there on the market, they’re going to have to make a gamble of their own: let Verlander go and get relatively little in return if another club picks up that $56 million commitment or eat it themselves and get prospects back in return to help kickstart a rebuild. Personally I’d go with the latter option, but I don’t work for the Illitch family.

 

There is a Tyler glut in baseball

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It’s a slow news morning — Miguel Montero is gone and everyone else is quiet — so you should go read Tyler Kepner’s latest column over at the New York Times. It’s, appropriately, about Tylers.

There are a lot of them in baseball now, Tyler notes. No Larrys and hardly any Eddies or Bobs. This obviously tracks the prevalence of the name Tyler in the population at large and the declines in Larrys, Eddies and Bobs. It’s the kind of thing I imagine we’ve all noticed from time to time, and it’s fun to do it in baseball. For his part, Kepner tries to make an all-Tyler All-Star team. The results are sort of sad.

There are always one or two Craigs floating around baseball from time to time, but not many more than that. We got a Hall of Famer recently, so that’s pretty nice. There will likely be fewer over time, as Craig — never even a top-30 name in popularity — is now near historic lows. I’m not complaining, though. I never once had to go by “Craig C.” in class to differentiate myself from other Craigs. Our biggest problem is being called Greg. We tend to let it pass. Craigs are used to it by now.