I imagine we won’t hear from other suspended-but- largely-anonymous Biogenesis players like Sergio Escalona and Fautino De Los Santos, but Francisco Cervelli plays for the Yankees, so he’s got a somewhat higher media profile.
Cervelli spoke with Newsday yesterday and talked about his PED use and his involvement with the infamous Miami clinic. The upshot: he had a lot of injuries and he wanted to get better as soon as he could given how he always had to fight for a roster spot:
Cervelli, whose career has been beset by injuries, said his reason for involving himself with the clinic was simple. Biogenesis offered the possibility of “a quick fix,” he said, a faster return from a broken left foot suffered in March 2011 when he was battling for a backup job.
He said he was “desperate or anxious [and] scared” and listened to the wrong people’s advice in seeking out Anthony Bosch’s help.
He seems pretty honest about it all. Indeed, this pretty much sounds like any other number of PED stories we’ve heard. The need to rehab faster so the player can get back on the field. Given his candor about it and given that Cervelli was subject to mostly positive press prior to all of this (indeed, he’s extremely popular among a certain segment of Yankees fans) I have little doubt that, if his major league career resumes, most folks won’t think too much less of the guy. Indeed, like a lot of other players who served 50 games, many will forget that he was ever suspended in the first place.
We don’t do that with the superstars, though. We don’t believe them, generally speaking, when they tell the same story Cervelli tells. We assume they take PEDs for the ego or to break records or because they’re inherently bad guys and don’t buy their “I just wanted to recover from injuries faster” stories. We don’t forgive them or forget their transgression. That’s the case even though, unlike Cervelli, the Ryan Brauns and A-Rods of the world aren’t in competition for roster slots and aren’t potentially costing other players a shot at the majors as directly as a 20-25th man like Cervelli might.
Funny how that works.
The Associated Press is reporting that the Cubs and starter Jake Arrieta have avoided arbitration, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season. That marks the highest salary on a one-year deal for a pitcher with four years of service, the AP notes. Arrieta and the Cubs were set to go before an independent arbitrator but now can simply focus on the season ahead.
Arrieta, 29, is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He had filed for $13 million while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million. The $5.5 million gap was the largest among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. The $10.7 million salary is $450,000 above the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
Arrieta won the National League Cy Young Award for his performance this past season, narrowly edging out Zack Greinke, then with the Dodgers. Arrieta led the majors with 22 wins, four complete games, and three shutouts. With that, he compiled a 1.77 ERA and a 236/48 K/BB ratio across 229 innings.
Once a top prospect in the Orioles’ minor league system, Arrieta struggled in the majors but found immediate success with the Cubs in 2013 after the O’s traded him along with Pedro Strop in exchange for Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman.
Per Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Giants have signed infielder Conor Gillaspie to a minor league deal. Gillaspie was selected by the Giants in the supplemental round of the 2008 draft, then was traded to the White Sox in February 2013.
Gillaspie, 28, hit a meager .228/.269/.359 with four home runs and 24 RBI in 253 plate appearances between the White Sox and Angels during the 2015 season. Almost all of his playing time has come at third base but he can also play first base if needed.
The Giants, thin on depth, will allow Gillaspie to audition in spring training for a spot on the 25-man roster.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that free agent reliever Joe Nathan, recovering from Tommy John surgery, plans to pitch in 2016 according to his agent Dave Pepe. According to Pepe, Nathan’s workouts are “going well” and the right-hander is “definitely planning on playing this year.”
Nathan, 41, got the final out on Opening Day (April 6) against the Twins before going on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, causing him to miss the next 161 games. He will likely be able to contribute out of the bullpen in late May or early June if he has no setbacks. On a minor league deal or incentive-laden major league deal, Nathan could make for a low-risk gamble.
Over a 15-season career that dates back to 1999 (he did not pitch in the majors in 2001 or 2010), Nathan has 377 saves with a 2.89 ERA and a 967/340 K/BB ratio over 917 innings.
On Thursday, we learned that the Diamondbacks were still considering free agent reliever Tyler Clippard. You can add the Rays to the list as well, per Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Rays traded lefty reliever Jake McGee to the Rockies in exchange for outfielder Corey Dickerson in late January, so Clippard would be able to slot right in behind closer Brad Boxberger. Clippard, 30, compiled a 2.92 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 31 walks over 71 innings in a season split between the Athletics and Mets. The strikeout rate was at its lowest since the right-hander become a full-time reliever in 2009, and his walk rate was at its highest since 2010, which may be a factor in his still being a free agent in February.