Indians not giving Michael Brantley qualifying offer

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Buster Olney reports that the Cleveland Indians do not plan on giving a qualifying offer to outfielder Michael Brantley. The qualifying offer this year is for one-year and $17.9 million.

An interesting move, but it’s hard to say whether it’s a good one.

On the one hand, Brantley hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 143 games last season and, beyond him, the Indians outfield depth chart looks like a dang train wreck. The currently penciled-in left fielder is a second baseman. The currently penciled-in center fielder nearly friggin’ died last summer. Yes, there’s a chance the Indians add someone else or that Jason Kipnis and Leonys Martin have nice comeback years, but the cupboard is kinda bare out there right now.

On the other hand, Brantley will be 32 early next season and, his nice 2018 aside, has has been far from durable of late. $17.9 million for a single season may be worth that kind of gamble to a lot of teams but the Indians are far less free with their money than just about any contender.

I have no idea if not giving him a qualifying offer is a good move, but Brantley may prove to be one of the more interesting test cases as to where the free agent market stands this year.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.