Ken Griffey Jr. is usually held up as the one slugging superstar from the 90s who did it clean. He may have. We don’t know. Nor do we know that the guys who are accused of it were dirty. But despite all of that uncertainty, there has always been a sense that accusing Griffey of taking PEDs — if anyone ever dared — would be a major, major escalation in the PED wars.
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Marcus Hayes escalated last night.
He was in a long Twitter war with Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News about who was better — Ichiro or Griffey. The entire exchange is play-by-played over at Crossing Broad. Setting aside the fact that only a dunderhead would say that Ichiro was a better overall player than Griffey, Hayes kept couching his argument about Griffey’s decline years as his “post-PED years.” Lawrence let it go a couple of times, maybe incredulous about what he was reading. But he finally called Hayes on it:
Hayes never backed down after that, which leaves him on record as saying that Ken Griffey Jr. was a PED user. Because of “catastrophic dropoff and soft-tissue injuries.” I’ve not gone back and looked but I’m guessing Hayes has also accused people of being on the juice specifically because they never dropped off and stayed healthy even as they aged.
Of course that’s the beauty of a witch hunt. You don’t need actual evidence or even coherence. People are already so riled up that evidence and anti-evidence are one and the same.
Anyway, good to know someone who actually works for a mainstream media outlet is on record accusing Ken Griffey Jr. of juicing. I never thought we’d get there, but here we are.
Note: this post originally identified Hayes as a “Philly.com” columnist. He is not. He is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Apologies for the error.
This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:
In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.
Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.
That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?
That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.
Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.
After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.
Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.
Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.
It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.
So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:
Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.
Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.