David Ortiz is not pleased that his name got pulled into the John Lackey-Nelson Cruz thing

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To review:

  • John Lackey got shelled by Nelson Cruz the other day;
  • Lackey makes some whiney comments after the game about how Nelson Cruz was suspended for Biogenesis stuff last year in an effort to discredit his performance;
  • Buck Showalter says that Lackey shouldn’t say such things given that every team has someone you could point a finger at regarding PEDs. Showalter mentions no names.
  • The Commentariat notes that, obviously, David Ortiz is one of those people on Lackey’s team at whom one could, if one desired, point a finger.

The latest: David Ortiz goes apepoop over people — specifically people at MLB Network — mentioning him by name in all of this. From WEEI:

“But then, when they are commenting about what Showalter said, they brought my name up,” he added. “Then one of the guys wanted to say that I got a free pass. And to be honest with you, in this country, nobody gets a free pass. He wants to make it sound like I got a free pass because nobody can point fingers at me directly. But the reason why I got that fake [expletive] free pass that he’s saying is because they pointed fingers at me with no proof. It’s easier to do it that way than having something that they can say, ‘Yes, you did this, you did that.’ My [expletive], I call straight up bull. Let me tell you. You don’t get no free pass here, especially a guy like me. I don’t get no free pass. That free pass B.S. that they want to talk about over there, they can shove it up their [expletive].

On the one hand, one has to roll ones eyes at this because, yes, Ortiz has gotten way, way lighter treatment in the arena of public opinion compared to just about every other player who has ever been associated with PEDs in any way, be it via evidence or innuendo. No one talks about his accomplishments or his team’s accomplishments as being “tainted,” hardly anyone, when discussing his legacy or his Hall of Fame chances, brings up his PED positive in the 2003 survey testing the way they do for Sammy Sosa or the way they did for A-Rod back when the 2003 survey testing was all that was known about his PED history. Ortiz clearly has received much softer treatment than others in this regard.

On the other hand, Ortiz’s treatment, in my view anyway, has been far closer to fair than it has been for anyone else and, if anything, the so-called “free pass” he’s gotten should be the rule, not the exception.

As Barry Patchesky notes over at Deadspin, Ortiz’s name was only made public in connection to that 2003 survey test because an overzealous law enforcement action brought them to light (the test results were supposed to be destroyed). Ortiz took the punishment his crime carried with it at the time (i.e. none) and he has never once tested positive for anything since nor has he been implicated in any of baseball’s various drug scandals. No, one cannot ignore the information that surfaced about him years and years ago, but the fact that we generally don’t dwell on Ortiz’s transgression is a good thing, not a bad thing, and is probably how everyone else who gets caught up in this stuff should be dealt with. Apply the applicable punishment, file it in with every other fact about the guy, but don’t let it be the entire story about the guy and his career.

Ortiz has made a habit lately of throwing public temper tantrums, and it’s a bad look for him even though — as is often the case — he is correct on the merits. So his going off like this is pretty lame. But Lackey bringing up Cruz’s past after Cruz took him downtown was pretty lame too. And people bringing up Ortiz’s treatment by the public, as if Ortiz should have to answer for it in some way, may be the lamest thing in all of this.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.