Bret Boone was an All-Star and Silver Slugging second baseman whose career peaked in Seattle in the early 2000s. But by 2005 he had fallen off a cliff, performance-wise, was sent to Minnesota, flamed out in 14 games and never played again.
He has an autobiography coming out on May 10 and in it he reveals that his falloff was not just a matter of age and slowed bat speed. The bottle helped end his career:
“I needed a drink. So I had one, and then another. I’d polish off a six-pack of beer and reach for another six-pack. Eventually I made the mistake of switching from beer to clear — from the slow, easy buzz of Bud Light or Miller Lite to the sharper edge of Absolut and Ketel One, a bottle at a time . . . Nobody knew how much I was drinking. To the baseball men I loved and trusted, it seemed like the usual late-career crisis.”
A lot of people have speculated, based on his late career power spike, that Boone used performance enhancing drugs. He denies ever doing so in the book, but one thing is clear: he was definitely doing things that detracted from his performance.
I haven’t seen an advance copy of the book, but here’s hoping the ending — the present — is a happy one and that he has come to manage his addiction.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.
Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.
Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.
He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.
The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.
Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.