Francisco Cervelli

Francisco Cervelli talks about his PED use and Biogenesis


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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

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.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

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.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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.