The other day we saw Buster Olney say that, despite having zero evidence whatsoever that Melky Cabrera is using PEDs again, it’s totally cool to assume he is and to thus discount the nice season he’s having. Informing Olney’s thinking, no doubt, is his belief that players all assume that once a guy cheats he’s always a cheater.
Not all players, though. Jose Bautista — without putting too fine a point on calling out Olney — bats down his line of thinking in this article by Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:
“What bothers me specifically about Melky’s situation is that he’s a free agent after the year and those type of comments can really affect his status as a free agent and his ability to negotiate,” Bautista said before playing the Phillies. “That story can get picked up by somebody else and it can get expanded and blown up into whatever they want, which could be detrimental to his negotiation . . .”
“ . . . It’s not my place to say what is right or wrong,” Bautista said. “I can tell you what my opinion is, not the general opinion of the (other MLB) players. I think if you did something wrong and you were caught and you pay your dues, that should be it. (Failing once) doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be doing something that’s illegal or not allowed.”
Bautista, of course, is quite familiar with being on the bad end of PED hysteria. When he hit 54 homers a couple of years ago there was this idea in the press that it was perfectly legitimate to assume he was taking something illegal and he was accused of such in quite similar terms to that which Olney used on Cabrera in his column the other day. The performance was unexpected so reporters decided that the most logical explanation for it was cheating.
Of course reporters can conclude whatever they’d like. That was Buster’s main argument, summed up with a pithy “All’s fair.” If they’re going to make conclusions that are also accusations, however, they should have some facts or evidence on their side first.
The Rockies announced on Wednesday night that the club acquired relief pitcher Pat Neshek from the Phillies in exchange for three minor leaguers: infielder Jose Gomez, pitcher J.D. Hammer, and pitcher Alejandro Requena.
Neshek, 36, made the National League All-Star roster and currently owns a 1.12 ERA with a 45/5 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings. He’ll help bolster the 58-44 Rockies’ bullpen as they vie for one of the two Wild Card slots realistically, and hope to overcome the Dodgers’ 12-game lead in the NL West.
Gomez, 20, is the Rockies’ No. 21 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He was signed out of Venezuela in July 2013. At Single-A Asheville this season, Gomez hit .324/.374/.437 in 351 plate appearances.
Hammer, 23, was selected by the Rockies in the 24th round of the 2016 draft. Between Asheville and High-A Lancaster this season, the right-hander owns a 2.36 ERA with a 65/14 K/BB r atio over 42 innings of relief.
Requena, 20, was signed as an international free agent by the Rockies in September 2013. With Asheville this season, the right-hander carries a 2.85 ERA with a 97/25 K/BB ratio in 117 innings across 19 starts.
Earlier, Craig wrote about the negative reaction within the Phillies’ clubhouse after outfielder Odubel Herrera A) flipped his bat on a fly out, and B) failing to run out a dropped third strike. Manager Pete Mackanin was one of Herrera’s critics, unsurprisingly, but so was catcher Cameron Rupp.
Via the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Gelb, Rupp said that the Phillies’ frustration with Herrera is “not a secret.” He said, “Pete is the manager and what he asks us to do, we’re supposed to do. It’s a team thing and one guy can’t just not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It has happened before and that’s something we don’t want to see. We want him in the game. He’s a good player. It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”
Though Rupp didn’t directly say his criticism of Herrera pertained to bat flips, we can logically deduce it as such. Herrera doesn’t commonly fail to run out dropped third strikes, but he does commonly flip his bat, particularly on non-homers.
Rupp had a good game against the Astros on Wednesday night, blasting a pair of two-run home runs. The problem? Rupp flipped his bat. In a 9-0 game.
The MLB.com video doesn’t really give a chance to see the full extent of Rupp’s flip, so here’s a .gif from Chris Jones:
And just in case anyone feels I’m interpreting the situation through a biased lens, Phillies beat writer Ryan Lawrence of The Philly Voice also saw it the same way.
We should probably expect Mackanin to bench Rupp for the next two games like he did Herrera, right? What’s that, you say? Certain players were more likely to be criticized for expressing emotion and perceived lack of hustle? Really makes you think.