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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.