Meet the next PED: Xenon

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From the Economist, a look at the bleeding edge of performance-enhancement: inhaling an oxygen-Xenon mixture. And it is quite literally the bleeding edge. As in: it helps in the production of red blood cells. And the best part: no needles!

The recommended dose is a 50:50 mixture of xenon and oxygen, inhaled for a few minutes, ideally before going to bed. The gas’s action, the manual states, continues for 48-72 hours, so repeating every few days is a good idea. And for last-minute jitters, a quick hit an hour before the starting gun can help.

That little bump gives athletes a whole host of benefits, including increased heart and lung capacity, preventing muscle fatigue, boosting testosterone and improving mood. Xenon has been shown to benefit mountain climbers, paddlers, soldiers and pilots in various studies.

And the best part: it’s not banned by WADA. It has been used by Russian athletes. Indeed, it is recommended by doctors and trainers advising them. And its use if probably increasing.

How soon before it’s being used by ballplayers? Heck, how many ballplayers are using it already?

(thanks to John M. for the heads up)

 

Cubs sign infielder Daniel Descalso

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The Chicago Cubs have signed free agent infielder Daniel Descalso. The deal is for two years and is worth $5 million, with a club option for 2021 that could bring the total overall value to $8.25 million.

Descalso, 32, has spent the past two seasons in Arizona. Before that he spent two years with the Rockies. He began his career with the Cardinals, playing in St. Louis for five seasons. He’s a career .240/.324/.370 hitter (85 OPS+) who can cover multiple positions. Indeed, in 2018 alone he played first, second, third, left field, DH and he even pitched twice. In his career he has also played a great deal of shortstop, though not regularly for a couple of years.

In an age of short benches and big bullpens, it pays to have a super utility guy. Descalso may not be Marwin Gonzalez as far as quality goes, but he’s just as flexible a lot more affordable. That’s worth at least something.