Hall of Famer Frank Thomas was at a White Sox fan event over the weekend and the subject of the Hall of Fame and performance enhancing drugs came up. While The Big Hurt did not mention anyone by name, he quite clearly took aim at the two men who were recently elected to the Hall of Fame: Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez. Thomas:
“They’ve let a few people in already we all know . . . It’s uncomfortable at this point. I’m sure this year’s going to be uncomfortable because we’ve got two great players going in, but they know. It’s no secret. If they didn’t do it, they would be stomping and kicking and in interviews saying, ‘I didn’t do it.'”
Bagwell and Rodriguez have both been suspected of using PEDs in their career. Bagwell with no public evidence or reporting, Rodriguez via speculation based on his reduced physique in the second part of his career and by Jose Canseco accusing him in his book “Juiced” of using PEDs. Bagwell has denied using drugs. He did not “kick and scream” as he did so, even if his accusers often have had immature meltdowns about it. Rodriguez has denied use as well.
Thomas went on to suggest that he and his Hall of Fame brethren are not happy about the election of Bagwell and Rodriguez or of Mike Piazza last year, who was often accused, without evidence, of taking PEDs:
“Trust me, there’s a lot of internal talk going on. A lot of guys that I respect that are real, true Hall of Famers, all they have is their legacy. They didn’t make this kind of money . . . They’re not happy about this at all.”
It strikes me that if Thomas is prepared to identify some players as “real, true Hall of Famers,” while throwing accusations at others without evidence, that he should come up with a label for them as well. “Phony Hall of Famers?” Something like that? What is it Frank?
In other news, a lot of “real, true Hall of Famers” had strong opinions about the men who came after them as well, thinking less of them for all manner of reasons big and small. Not least of which includes their status as designated hitters. One wonders what they thought when Thomas was inducted.
The Mets announced on Wednesday that catcher Travis d'Arnaud has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and pitcher Tommy Milone has been placed on the 10-day DL.
d’Arnaud, 28, was placed on the DL on May 5 (retroactive to May 3) with a bone bruise on his right wrist. The Mets’ backstop appeared to have suffered the injury in mid-April when he accidentally hit his hand on the bat of the opposing hitter when he was making a throw. d’Arnaud resumes with a .203/.288/.475 triple-slash line with four home runs and 16 RBI in 66 plate appearances.
Milone, 30, made three mostly forgettable starts for the Mets, yielding 15 runs (14 earned) on 19 hits and seven walks with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings. Newsday’s Marc Carig says that, with Milone out, either Rafael Montero or Josh Smoker will start on Saturday with Smoker being more likely to get the nod.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.