Murray Chass continues to beat on Mike Piazza over steroids

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Mike Piazza Mets.jpgFormer professional baseball writer Murray Chass created a bit of a stir last year when he wrote a couple of blog posts saying that Mike Piazza clearly did steroids. His reasoning: backne. As in Piazza had a lot of it when he played, it cleared up when drug testing kicked in and that means Piazza was a ‘roider.

And maybe he did do steroids. I have no idea. Chass doesn’t either, however, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to beat that drum.  Today he unloads on Piazza for not talking to the media during his recent appearances at Citi Field, and presumes that’s because he doesn’t want to answer steroids questions.

Except he already has answered them. Here’s Piazza in the New York Post last year:

For the record, Piazza says he was a clean player. “Absolutely” is the
word he used. He claims he is not on the now infamous list of 104 failed
steroid tests from the survey phase in 2003. “No, not that I know,” he
said.

Maybe he’s lying. Like I said, I have no idea. But if so, it’s going to take more than Murray Chass’s continued innuendo to establish it.  It’ll take some sort of evidence, the kind which Chass freely admits he does not have.

And, it should be noted, the kind of evidence mainstream writers — the kind Chass used to be — constantly tell bloggers they need to have before talking about things as innocuous as trade rumors, let alone steroids allegations.

I suppose one response is to say “who cares? It’s just Murray Chass.”  But Murray Chass still has a Hall of Fame vote for some reason, so I think it’s worth highlighting this sort of thing when we see it.

Cubs won’t make Kyle Schwarber available in trade talks

Kyle Schwarber
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Cubs won’t deal Kyle Schwarber this winter, despite multiple inquires from teams around the league. Schwarber is approaching his first year of arbitration and will remain under team control for another three seasons before reaching free agency in 2022.

The decision comes on the heels of one of the strongest seasons of the 25-year-old outfielder’s short career. Over 137 games and 510 PA for the Cubs, he proved a passable defender in left field and batted .238/.356/.467 with 26 home runs, an .823 OPS, and 3.2 fWAR in 2018. He also led the National League in intentional walks, with 20, and bumped up his total walks from 59 in 2017 to 78.

Despite his marked improvements from previous years, Schwarber’s performance still left something to be desired — specifically against left-handed pitchers, who held the slugger to a paltry .224/.352/.303 with four extra-base hits across 91 PA. Still, it’s evident the Cubs feel Schwarber is capable of strengthening his splits in the years to come, and they might stand to get more value from him on the field than they would in a trade this offseason.

Of course, that’s not to say the Cubs intend to pass the Winter Meetings in total silence, especially as they’ll be seeking bullpen and catching depth in advance of their 2019 run at the division title. As club president Theo Epstein remarked last week, “We’re certainly open and active in trade talks with a lot of deals that usually don’t come to fruition. So, we may make some trades. We could make big ones that transform the roster. We may make smaller complementary ones. But there’s certain things we’d like to accomplish.”