On Saturday night, after getting rocked by the Orioles in general and Nelson Cruz in particular, Red Sox starter John Lackey threw some shade Cruz’s way, suggesting that people shouldn’t let Cruz off the hook given that he was suspended for PED use last season.
Yesterday morning Orioles manager Buck Showalter responded, saying “everybody needs to make sure that their own backyard is clean” before slamming anyone else about PEDs. He added:
“There’s so many insinuations, quite frankly, about people in every club. You usually don’t hear those comments after a shutout or something . . . Considering the timing of things, it’s one of those things that you keep quiet about it and it reflects poorly upon the person who said it . . . He might want to be careful.”
So many ways to go with that. Let’s go a few ways:
- One could take that broadly and interpret it as Showalter saying “hey, you never know who is using and maybe someone on the Red Sox is, so don’t throw that stuff around.”
- One could take that specifically and have it as Showalter reminding Lackey that, once upon a time, David Ortiz was accused of PED use.
- One could also look specifically at Nelson Cruz and be reminded that, last winter, the Red Sox were considering signing him and Ortiz himself personally reached out to Cruz in an effort to try to get him to come to Boston. Query: Does Lackey have an ethical problem if Cruz is hitting 27 homers and driving in 70 before the break if he’s wearing a Red Sox uniform? Kinda doubt it!
- One could also remember that, three years ago, Lackey was involved in a brawl/plunking war with the Orioles and, at the time, Showalter called for Lackey to be suspended which suggests that Showalter doesn’t have much patience for that guy to begin with.
A friend of mine — actually, a friend of mine’s father — likes to say that “everything in life has a long tail.” I tend to agree with that. And if you’re the sort of person who likes to make moral and ethical judgments about folks, it’s helpful to remember the context in which you do it and examine whether or not you’re being a wee bit inconsistent in your application of such judgments.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are keeping an eye on outfield prospect Luis Robert. The 19-year-old left his native Cuba last November and is expected to command interest from multiple MLB teams as he approaches free agency. Goold adds that the Cardinals sent scouts to evaluate Robert’s workouts in the Dominican Republic as recently as last week.
There’s still a good chance that the club won’t get a shot at signing him; as Craig mentioned last month, it seems likely that Major League Baseball won’t declare Robert a free agent until after June 15. By July 2, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s policies on international bonuses will go into effect, handcuffing teams with the maximum penalty for bonuses to a $300,000 signing figure for any available international prospect. It’s designed to effectively take away those teams’ abilities to sign additional international talent, and the Cardinals have already spent a reported $9.35 million in bonuses on Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia, Cuban outfielders Jonatan Machado and Randy Arozarena and Cuban right-hander Johan Oviedo.
Until the cutoff in mid-June, the Cardinals are likely to continue actively scouting other international talent, including Robert. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez quotes an anonymous National League scouting director who describes Robert as the No. 2 talent behind Japanese wunderkind Shohei Otani. The 19-year-old hit .286/.319/.397 with a .716 OPS during a 16-game run in the Canadian-American League in 2016, following up an impressive three-year tenure with the Ciego de Avila in the Cuban National Series from 2013-2015.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported over the weekend that the Cubs and reliever Pedro Strop agreed to a contract extension. He’ll remain with the Cubs through 2018 and the new deal includes a club option for the 2019 season as well. Per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Strop will earn $5.85 million in 2018 and the club option is worth $6.25 million with a $500,000 buyout. The two sides already avoided arbitration earlier this month, agreeing on a $5.5 million salary for the 2017 season.
Strop, 31, has been a very reliable reliever for the Cubs over the last three years. He has a combined 2.65 ERA with 212 strikeouts and 69 walks over 176 1/3 innings in that span of time.
The Cubs replaced Aroldis Chapman with Wade Davis, so Strop and Hector Rondon will be bridging the gap to Davis this coming season.
Strop joined the Cubs along with Jake Arrieta in the July 2013 trade that sent Steve Clevenger and Scott Feldman to the Orioles. That trade panned out well for the Cubs.