UPDATE: Albert Pujols’ trainer has denied Clark’s allegations to NBC Sports.com.
10:00 AM: Jack Clark, who once accused the Cardinals of being “quitters” and having “poopy in their pants” — yes, he actually said that — has a new accusation: Albert Pujols: PED user:
He was known as “Jack the Ripper” during his playing days because of his power hitting, and Jack Clark has come out swinging hard in his new sports-radio position. He has accused former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols of using a performance enhancing drug.
Go read Dan Caesar’s column for the details, but the upshot is Clark saying “I know for a fact” that Pujols took PEDs because the trainer who used to work out with Pujols in Kansas City during the offseason “basically told me that’s what he did.”
The trainer, Chris Mihlfeld, was in the news several years ago when it was erroneously reported that he and Pujols appeared in an affidavit with information supplied by Jason Grimsley, who had been busted for PEDs. That turned out to not be the case.
As for these allegations? On the one hand they are, by definition, hearsay. And Clark’s later swipes at Justin Verlander and Shawn Green are pure b.s. which undermine him (he says Green had back acne and erroneously states that Verlander used to throw much harder than he does now). That said, hearsay gets a bad rap, but it isn’t nothing. And if we have learned anything in the past few years it’s that not all credible accusations of PED use are made by reputable and noble sources. Clark could be full of it. He also could be right.
Either way, Clark works in talk radio now and between this and his past comments doing broadcast work it is clear that he is one who likes to drop bombs and get attention. I presume he will be getting a lot more now.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.