Jeff Passan just dropped some interesting news on a slow news day. Major League Baseball, it seems, has sent a memo out to players warning them that over-the-counter sexual-enhancement pills — the sort often sold at gas stations or via late night TV ads as as “male enhancement” products — run the risk of giving players positive PED test results due to contamination with products that violate the league’s substance abuse policy.
Passan’s report says that use of these products is rampant among ballplayers. He also says this that “at least two players this year were suspended for performance-enhancing drugs and claimed the banned substances found in their urine came from the unregulated products . . .”
If we assume that he’s only talking about major leaguers here, it’s probably worth noting that there have only been three positive PED tests among major leaguers so far this year: Tim Beckham, Frankie Montas and Steven Wright. So, um, maybe someone wants to go track these dudes down and ask them if they’ve bought any “RhinoZen Black Fire” or whatever.
No, I do not know of that product personally. I read about it. REALLY!
Anyway, just another normal day in the big leagues.
Bob Klapisch of The New York Times reports that free agent starter Gerrit Cole has a seven-year, $245 million contract offer on the table from the Yankees. As Klapisch also notes, the deal would set a record for total value and average annual value for a pitcher, besting Zack Greinke‘s $34.4 million AAV and David Price‘s $217 million total.
While it is possible that Cole signs before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday, clients of Scott Boras have tended to sign later in the offseason, so this may be a protracted process with today’s report as a jumping-off point. Both the Yankees’ and Angels’ front offices have received clearance from ownership to break the bank to sign Cole.
Cole, 29, could not have timed having a career year any better. During the regular season, he led all of baseball with 326 strikeouts and led the American League with a 2.50 ERA while also posting a 20-5 record and walking only 48 batters across 212 1/3 innings. He performed brilliantly in the playoffs as well, holding the opposition to seven runs on 21 hits and 11 walks with 47 strikeouts over 36 2/3 innings of work as the Astros narrowly missed out on winning another championship.
Cole is entering his age-29 season, so a deal of at least seven years would take him well into his mid-30’s. Teams, especially lately, have been hesitant to commit to pitchers, but as the Nationals showed with Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, sometimes it leads to a championship.
For what it’s worth, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports says the Yankees haven’t made a formal offer to Cole yet, though the club plans to make one this week. During this time of year, both sides — front office personnel and player agents — leak details to the press to help establish leverage. What we can generally take from this is that the Yankees are hot for Cole and he’s going to get a record-setting contract from some team, even if it’s not the Yankees.