As usual, everyone is yawning at PEDs in football

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As Sean Foreman noted yesterday, 20 — 20! — NFL players are beginning the season under a drug suspension of some kind. You have to count back through four years to get to 20 major leaguers suspended for drugs. If you set aside the Biogenesis guys who were all busted without testing, you have to go back to 2007 to amount to the number of just the currently-suspended football players.

And heck, you can’t even fall back to the old saw about “well, the NFL is catching its users, while baseball is not!” because the NFL doesn’t even have HGH testing. Even the extremists at the WADA grant that baseball has the best testing among North American pro sports leagues these days, so that’s not it.

Then there’s the media response. The latest, in reaction to the Wes Welker suspension:

Tanguay believes PEDs aren’t quite as big of issue in the football world compared to Major League Baseball.

“If we were worried about steroids in the Hall of Fame, the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70’s, no one would get in,” said Tanguay. “It’s football, it’s physical. Guys break down, you got to be big, you got to be strong. If you’re 275 [pounds] you have to weigh 350. PEDs are accepted in the game.”

I’ll never not be shocked at the double standard between the NFL and Major League Baseball in the media when it comes to PEDs. PEDs are no big deal — just a part of the game! — in a league where size, speed and physical strength is such that physical impacts are literally destroying the health of its players, causing brain injuries that, in some cases, have led to suicide. In baseball, some arbitrary statistical records were broken and it’s a national crisis.

Rays’ Díaz gets $24 million, three-year deal, avoids arbitration

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Tampa Bay Rays infielder Yandy Díaz agreed to a $24 million, three-year contract on Tuesday that avoided a salary arbitration hearing.

Díaz’s agreement could be worth $36 million over four seasons.

The 31-year old will receive $6 million this season, $8 million in 2024 and $10 million for 2025. The 2026 club is $12 million with no buyout. There is a $1 million assignment bonus that would be payable by receiving team.

Díaz has spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Cleveland (2017-18) and Tampa Bay (2019-22). He has a career average of .278 with 39 home runs and 198 RBIs.

Acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade on Dec. 13, 2018, Díaz hit .296 with nine homers and 57 RBIs in 137 games last season, He career highs with 71 runs, 140 hits, 33 doubles, and 78 walks.

Díaz was the third Rays’ arbitration-eligible player to reach a deal.

Reliever Pete Fairbanks agreed Friday to a $12 million, three-year contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons. The 29-year-old right-hander was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Left-hander Jeffrey Springs also agreed last week to a $31 million, four-year contract that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

The 30-year-old began last season in the bullpen and transitioned to the starting rotation in May and finished 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA in 33 appearances, including 25 starts.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, and outfielder Harold Ramírez.