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The Red Sox are still steamed that a PED guy played against them in the playoffs last year

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And not just that: they’re not particularly happy that Nelson Cruz played against them just last week.

This comes from Ken Rosenthal’s story about how several Red Sox players, led by Jonny Gomes, it seems, were at the forefront of the movement to get the changes made to the Joint Drug Agreement we first heard about a couple of weeks ago. Specifically, the stiffer penalties for first and second time offenders and the ban on a player who tests positive for drugs appearing in the playoffs with his team that year, even if his suspension has been served.

Based on the quotes, though, it seems like anything short of lifetime bans for first offenses won’t satisfy these guys. Their take on Jhonny Peralta coming off his suspension to play against Boston in the ALCS last year:

How much conversation was there among the Red Sox?

“A lot,” Boston outfielder Jonny Gomes said.

What was the tone of those conversations?

“Not positive . . .”

“Every time he got a hit, you were just mad,” Ross said. “It wasn’t like something we dwelled upon. But there were remarks made here and there. It’s only natural to not like a guy you feel like is cheating, is on a different level than you are, whether he still is or not.”

And they have an issue with Nelson Cruz too:

“It still makes guys mad,” Ross said. “Nelson Cruz beat us with a home run on Opening Day (this year). You just have that sense of getting beat by a cheater. It hurts a little more than normally when you would just give a guy credit for doing something good. That’s on them, too. That’s something they’ll carry the rest of their playing career, and probably the rest of their lives.”

If it’s more about them “feeling like” guys are cheating, I’m not sure what anyone is supposed to do about it. Even under the new penalties, Ross and Gomes are going to “feel like” someone is cheating after their time is served. And for a lot of people, time goes in both directions. Manny Ramirez didn’t test positive for drugs until after he left Boston, but a lot of people “feel like” he was probably cheating in 2004 and 2007. David Ortiz tested positive for drugs during a trial testing period in 2003, but a lot of people “feel like” he’s still tainted in some way. Just go look at any comment section regarding any post involving David Ortiz ever.

At least Ross is honest, though. When asked if he’d feel differently if one of his teammates was using PEDs he said:

“As human beings, we have a funny way of looking at it,” Ross said. “If it happens to our family, we’ll console ’em. If it happens to an outsider’s family, we’ll condemn him.”

Applause for the players for making the changes to the Joint Drug Agreement that they wanted. But like anything in baseball — everything else in baseball, it seems — people’s ethics on almost every matter of consequence is at least partially dependent upon the jersey worn by the person being considered. Fans do this, the players do this and the media does it too.

I just wish that the acknowledgment of people being “human beings” and thus somewhat understandably possessing situational ethics and a sliding scale of morality was extended to the guys who use PEDs too. Not to excuse them or forgive them, but maybe to demonize them less and understand them a bit more rather than cast them as villains.

Phil Bickford suspended 50 games for drug of abuse

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 10:  Phil Bickford of the U.S. Team pitches during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at PETCO Park on July 10, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Brewers’ right-hander Phil Bickford received a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a drug of abuse, per the Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin. This is the second time Bickford has been suspended for recreational drug use, as he was previously penalized in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana prior to the amateur draft.

Bickford was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2015 draft and was later dealt to the Brewers for lefty reliever Will Smith at the 2016 trade deadline. He finished his 2016 campaign in High-A Brevard County, pitching to a 3.67 ERA, 10.0 K/9 rate and 5.0 BB/9 over 27 innings.

Two other suspensions were handed down on Friday, one to Toronto minor league right-hander Pedro Loficial for a positive test for metabolites of Stanozolol and one to Miami minor league outfielder Casey Soltis for a second positive test for drugs of abuse. Loficial will serve a 72-game suspension, while Soltis will serve 50 games. All three suspensions are due to start at the beginning of the 2017 season for each respective minor league team.

Brewers’ GM David Stearns issued a statement after the Commissioner’s Office announced Bickford’s suspension (via Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America):

We are very disappointed to learn of Phil’s suspension, but we fully support the Minor League Baseball Drug Prevention and Testing Program and its enforcement by the Commissioner’s Office. Phil understands he made a mistake, and we fully anticipate that he will learn from this experience.

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.