A couple of initial thoughts on the Chris Davis suspension

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Before you all call me an apologist — and I know you will anyway and have come to accept it and not fight it anymore — allow me to say that (a) I have no problem with amphetamines being against the rules; and (b) have no problem with Chris Davis being suspended for taking amphetamines. Do the crime, do the time. Amphetamines are a performance-enhancer and if you take one, you deserve what you get.

Also, given that Davis made a lot of comments last year about being clean, sure, the hypocrisy card is on the table. Maybe it’s not as satisfyingly playable if we learn later that his positive here was from a legitimate mixup or some cold medicine or something, but it’s fair game. UPDATE: He said he used Adderall, for which he had an exemption last year but didn’t get one this year. So we can add “wow, that’s dumb” to the reasons to criticize Davis.

But of course I have some thoughts on the reaction this is likely to receive from fans and the press:

  • Prediction: Davis gets way more crap for his amphetamines suspension than the many players who have gotten one but didn’t hit 50 homers. People comparing his stats from this year vs. his stats from last year. People making a much bigger deal out of this than they did out of, say, Cameron Maybin’s suspension for the same thing earlier this season;
  • Moreover, I expect the same people who go after Davis and call his 2013, 50-homer season fraudulent to be less eager to play that game with the guys who took amphetamines in the 1950s and 60s. There’s a lot of “well, greenies were different” sentiment out there. If they were, you gotta lay off Davis’ power numbers from last year. if they weren’t, you gotta ask what we think of Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays.

I realize this is a bigger story because he’s a bigger name. But let’s make a distinction between the size of the story and the degree of the ethical violation here. The former is noteworthy, the latter is no different than any number of other players.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.