They’re making a fictionalized TV show out of PEDs in baseball

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This is fun: there is a proposed TV series for Showtime called “Dope.” It’s ” an hourlong drama about the business of performance-enhancing drugs for athletes and the doctor who popularized it in South Florida.” Attached to it are a couple of reporters who worked on the Biogenesis stories last year.

As friend of HBT and Technology Tell writer Stephen Silver notes, If done right this could be good. They GOTTA play this with some serious comedic and absurdist angles. There is high comedy to be had regarding athletes setting up fake websites to cover their tracks, using personal checks to pay for drugs and having them delivered to the ballpark, reporters asking ballplayers to pee in cups on demand like Rick Reilly did that time, Clemens’ ridiculous p.r. assault after the Mitchell report came out and a billion other angles. Ultra-seriousness could play a part — if you touch on kids and drugs and stuff, sure, go for The Message — but too much of that will make it into some unbearable and unintentionally silly “Reefer Madness” thing.

Also, a suggestion: if you’re going to cast a role for an obnoxious blogger/PED apologist, you could do way worse than hiring Jim Rash:

 

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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.”