A Random Walk before Cubs Pitchers and Catchers Report

Some interesting storylines developing this weekend.

Alex Rodriguez, Donald Fehr and Bud Selig are going to have some splainin' to do with Sports Illustrated breaking a blockbuster HERE regarding ARod testing positive for two anabolic steroids in 2003 while with Texas. In fact, it's not just ARod but 104 players in total are on this list, which led to MLB adopting a random testing program for steroids in 2004. More than 5% of players tested were showing positive results in what was hoped to be proof that steroid use was nothing more than a rare situation. When the games biggest stars get pantsed as cheaters, in this case as defined by ARod turning his talents into $25-30 million/year contracts, the steroid era stain just keeps on spreading. Kind of like that pink spot in "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back".

When approached by an SI reporter on Thursday at a gym in Miami, Rodriguez declined to discuss his 2003 test results. "You'll have to talk to the union," said Rodriguez, the Yankees' third baseman since his trade to New York in February 2004. When asked if there was an explanation for his positive test, he said, "I'm not saying anything."

Primobolan, which is also known by the chemical name methenolone, is an injected or orally administered drug that is more expensive than most steroids.  According to a search of FDA records, Primobolan is not an approved prescription drug in the United States, nor was it in 2003.

Rodriguez finished the 2003 season by winning his third straight league home run title (with 47) and the first of his three MVP awards.

Because more than 5% of big leaguers had tested positive in 2003, baseball instituted a mandatory random-testing program, with penalties, in '04.

Truth or Consequences? This is the Katie Couric Interview with ARod after the Mitchell Report was released last year where he flat out denies using PED's. Here are three blunt questions he was asked in that interview:

Q: For the record, have you ever done steroids, Human Growth Hormone or any other PED's?
Q: Have you ever been tempted to use any of those things?
Q: Who do you think has the real HR record, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds?


Bruce Levine
was on vacation (at the Dunes in Vegas) for his regular ESPN radio
"Talkin' Baseball" show. Jonathan Hood substituted and Len Kasper was
interviewed. Len did say they will have 9 Cub games on TV this spring starting with two from Las Vegas begining March 4th. ESPN-1000's website now has downloadable archives
to Levine's weekly show for those who need a "BRUUCE" fix.

The Waddle and
Silvy show, daytimes (locally in Chicago) on ESPN-1000 radio has a similar site that has archives.
Their show from Feb 4th has an interview with Steve Stone who typically
is critical of the Cubs (this time for trading DeRosa and not signing
Blanco).

In a separate interview (same show) they talk to Todd Hollandsworth who will
now be doing the pre/post game duties for the Cubs on Comcast Sports
Network. Hollandsworth should be a nice addition, replacing Dan Plesac who has moved on to the new MLB network. Hollandsworth had been a weekly feature on David Kaplan's WGN radio Sports Central show, which essentially turned into a test run for him getting the CSN job. Color me a big fan of Plesac's work and the new MLB network which just added Bob Costas to their talent pool this week.

Rock on Len. Roll on Bruce.


In this MASN interview with Rich Hill by Roch Kubatko, Hill says his loss of control was due to a bad back, not the YIPS. His problems in Venezuela winter ball were due to shoulder tendonitis which is supposedly now resolved. Hill refers to a small joint in his low back, probably referencing to problems with what is called lumbar facet syndrome.

Towel drills this spring would not be a good sign for Hill.


Phil "Wrongway" Rogers in his weekend Whispers column makes up the rumor that the Astros are planning a sneak attack on the Cubs by signing Adam Dunn which would bench CF Michael Bourne. The notion that he's proposing an outfield of Dunn-Pence-CLee would be essentially like making a death threat against Hunter Pence.


ESPN's Jerry Crasnik writes HERE that Ray Durham is considering retirement because he's not getting any job offers. It's just my opinion but Durham might be a better righty bench option (than Rich Aurelia) for the Cubs if he could fill in as a backup at 3B. That might be a big IF, but Durham did hit .289  .380  .432 in 2008. Aurelia can backup at 3B but his line in 2008 was .283  .332  .413, so Durham gets on base significantly better.


There are some cool looking advertisements (here) coming from the Cubs using the Wrigley Marquee and paired Cub players. Some of the titles include:

The Blueprint for Heaven's Ballpark, with Lou Piniella and Ryan Theriot

Home of the Mysterious 24 hour Flu, with Ryan Dempster and Geo Soto

The Reason You Put Up With the Winters, with Z and DLee

What Happens in Wrigleyville Stays in Wrigley, with Ted Lillyhammer and Aramis Ramirez 


On Sunday, February 8 at 10:30 PM (Chicago time), Comcast SportsNet will air SportsNite: A Perspective on Cubs Pitching, a half-hour special breaking down this season’s Cubs starting rotation, relief corps and potential closers.  The special will be hosted by Chicago Tribune Live host David Kaplan and CSN Cubs play-by-play announcer Len Kasper. The Cubs special will feature one-on-one interviews with Cubs pitchers Jeff Samardzija, Sean Marshall, Kevin Gregg and Neal Cotts, along with additional comments from Cubs manager Lou Piniella and Cubs vice president/general manager Jim Hendry.

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Comments

And here I always felt that the usage of the derisive term "A - Fraud" was over - the - top nasty. Not any longer.

I can't take credit for it, but in another article someone commented "A-Roid". Think that might stick.

The "What Happens in Wrigley, Stays in Wrigley" ad is stupid.

And the "Blueprint for Heaven's Ballpark" sentiment is great. Lou and Theriot? Really? Stupid.

I gotta disagree about Plesac. I found him to be rather dry, myself.

If Holly's even moderately as good of a broadcaster as he was a player, then he'll be awfully darned mediocre in the broadcast booth. I'll look forward to that.

Wes, if Holly doesn't work out, we can just whack him in the shin.

Here is the direct link to the Hollandsworth interview by Waddle/Silverman. It's the last third of the show (Stone is the first third).

http://query-origin.andohs.net/8000A6/content-root...

Did Rich Hill do the whole interview as Kip?

For a guy who openly wants to be a GM, Stone sure comes across as a FAN.

Now, I don't like losing DeRosa. For me, he was the heart of the team last year. And, in the best of all possible worlds I would have kept Kerry Wood and Hank White as well. But Hendry made these moves because he was trying to rebalance the team while operating within a budget and contract restraints. And in that context they make sense.

with those Cubs ads...

Wrigley Field, Home of

"Bleacher Beer Goggles" (picture of a dude with a visor and a fat chick)

"Cubbery" (picture of ball hitting Aramis in head and Alex Gonzalez error"

and so on...

Dr. Hecht....

Welcome Rob. It was fun since I had the morning off, being in full baseball mode listening to all those audio links/XM 175/Bruce Levine's ghost show.

XM's been in full A-Fraud mode all day...but all the shows tend to blurr except for Hacksaw which has sort of been growing on me. Ed Randall...pass/zzzzzzzzz.

Hacksaw use to be on local LA radio, very smooth, nothing special though...

I hope they got rid of Charlie Steiner for good, although replacing him with Joel Sherman is about the same. The only show I really like is the fantasy guy that came on during the season from about 9-10am PST.

via Rotoworld...

SI's Selena Roberts said that she would name no other players from the list of 104 major leaguers who tested positive for steroids in 2003.
Roberts said she learned of Alex Rodriguez's inclusion on the list while working on a profile of the slugger. She also stated that she traveled to Miami on Thursday to mean with Rodriguez and give him a chance to refute the story. A-Rod, though, isn't talking about the story.

it's a little unclear if she actually knows other names, but if she does, well that's bullshit, she's just going sell out the biggest name to sell some magazines...that's crap.

I agree that it's a bunch of baloney, so to say, but I gotta reckon that's just about the only way we're ever going to get any of these names to come public.

At this point, I'm still not sure exactly how much it matters. Joe the Baseball Fan already knows that just about everybody did steroids in the last 20 years. Are the names REALLY that important to people? I guess that's an honest question that folks can answer if they like. I'm just curious, I reckon. Do you really care who they can prove did it and who didn't?

On the other hand, the media sure cares, and they're sure going to fork over serious cash for actual names, so we're all going to find out either way, I suppose.

I'd be interested to know who didn't use PEDs--I'd like to give guys their due credit for their own performance as well as their integrity. But the tests don't tell you who didn't use PEDs. They can tell you that at the time of a test a guy wasn't using a PED for which MLB tested,but they can't show that a guy didn't use HGH, for example.

I do still think that we can be a little angry at A-Rod and others for standing idly by while teammates (Giambi) are forced to apologize and act contrite and keep their mouths shut about everyone else.

I still think that Canseco ends up looking like the asshole of the era, though, with Bonds and A-Rod well behind him. Well, the owners and Selig are really the assholes of the era.

How would she come across this info researching a profile (aka a puff piece)? Writting a postive story on someone doesnt require that deep of investigative reporting. My bet is her main source is a PI on C-Rod's payroll who found her.

Ray Durham for the bench is an excellent idea. He can still hit quite nicely, thanks. As for the 3B thing, didn't Fontenot play some 3B for the I-Cubs? Hard to believe between Miles, Fontenot and Durham they couldn't be satisfied with someone to play roughly a dozen games at 3B for the season. I mean hell, the Cubs seem perfectly happy to have GABOR FREAKIN BAKO start two dozen games, so what's wrong with Durham for one dozen?

Adam Dunn in Houston would be bad news for us, please sign with Arizona, dude. Sure, Houston has no pitching, but they'd generate so much offense from their big 4 they wouldn't NEED much pitching to be a .500-team and a pain-in-the-ass.

Finally, if anyone thinks Sosa and Prior aren't on that list of 104 names that SI has, they're idiots. Wouldn't be suprised to see Alou and Wood in there either. 104/30 = about 3.5 guys per team, on average.

If Dunn signs with Houston, I'm opening the line on "Number of Geovany Soto inside the park home runs at the Juicebox" at 1.5.

Regarding the list of 104. Either the owners are stupid (probably) or the MLBPA in trying to protect it's players was stupid or guilty by doing so because the steroid helped escalate salaries like A-Rod to incredible heights. I'm certainly not a lawyer and it might have escalated identically anyway but I wonder if any of these players on the list could be sued by their respective clubs for misrepresenting themselves. Maybe a class action suit against the mlbpa? Most of these contracts have termination for cause paragraphs. Documenting Illegal drug use is usually considered grounds for "cause". Sorry, just ranting but it's financial impact might be greater than just cheating historical baseball records with PEDS.

The fact that there even is a list means that the owners have violated the CBA. Right now I'm more worried about having baseball in 2009 than if Moist Alou was on roids.

It just doesn't make any sense. The lab shouldn't even have had the player's names, they should have just had a list of numbers. If all they wanted was a % of players using a banned substance, what is the point of attaching names to the tests?

obviously I don't know of the procedures that were agreed upon or if any actually were, but it would seem some master list would need to have been kept to assure that every player that was tested was suppose to be tested and in case MLBPA or someone decided to challenge the final findings.

Of course that list probably should have been destroyed after 2004.

You have one master list to make sure everyone's samples were taken and submitted. There's no need to link that list to anything at the lab itself, though. Likewise there's no need to keep a list of players names with positive results around for five+ years.

Likewise there's no need to keep a list of players names with positive results around for five+ years.

I think I said that. Plus comment #35 seems to be the missing link.

Not go to all conspiracy theory on you here, but it sounds to me like they weren't after just the percentage.

Exactly. A bunch of has-been's and never-were's using PEDs is obviously not as troublesome as big name players. MLB needed to know who was using.

Neal just might be right on 2009...although it's gonna make alot of lawyers happy if that happens.

mlb's statement on the SI/A-Rod report:

"Any allegation of tipping that took place under prior iterations of the program is of grave concern to Major League Baseball, as such behavior would constitute a serious breach of our agreement.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb...

so the judge needs to make sure that never gets out...

on the other hand, I smell a lawsuit by Arod or the union against MLBPA for loss of endorsements and such...

and I think that reporter is a hack...you either cough up everyone you know and stick by your sources or don't mention anyone by name.

I am thinking it's possible that these people have allegedly 'seen the list' but not actually have it in their possession, so maybe Arod is the only name that came up more than once, due to his fame.

the article said the 4 sources were familiar with the government evidence, I can't imagine they just saw one name and this reporter only knew of one name.

I'll happily mea culpa if that turns out wrong, but it sure doesn't sound like it from that article linked from Rotoworld. Reporter said she's not giving up any names because they may come out anyway in the California court case.

Roberts was among the media brigrade slandering the Duke Lacrosse players:

http://www.timeswatch.org/articles/2007/2007032611...

what is it about these "watchdog" organizations that have no idea what a columnist is or what they do?

and why is that article touching on things that have nothing to do with what she's writing about? double standards? it was written like those people who can't stand a documentary isn't a 3-hour festival of covering every single base and all it's possible angles.

the article seems to be more than happy to "draw conclusions" and pronounce "double standards" that don't exist.

if i say i like the color blue, i don't need 100 letters from people who like the color red calling me a colorist. =p just because they're both similar doesn't mean i have to talk about both...especially in a column.

104/1198 = 8.7%; which implies 3-4 (3.5) players on every member of the 40 man roster tested positive in 2003.

I got the impression it was just over 5%. The above math is closer to 10%, downplaying the bad news Bud?
------------------
The results of the testing of 1,198 players were meant to be anonymous under the agreement between the commissioner's office and the union. SI reported that Rodriguez's testing information was found after federal agents, with search warrants, seized the 2003 results from Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., in Long Beach, Calif.

That was one of two labs used by baseball in connection with the testing. The seizure in April 2004 was part of the government's investigation into 10 baseball players linked to the BALCO scandal, the magazine reported. Rodriguez has not been connected to BALCO.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9192806/Report:...'03

So in reality there has to be at least double the names on the test positive list. Assuming 30 teams by 40 man rosters. This lab was responsible for less than half the tests. Anyone got an over/under on what month the other lab leaks their 120-140 player list?

The full list is under seal in California

http://www.newser.com/story/50190/a-rod-tested-pos...

http://tinyurl.com/cnl7ba

notice the tiny document underneath

sorry if it's 3/44

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9191472/Dunn,-A...

wtf the Angels are waiting for is beyond me...unless Dunn is still against being a DH.

on XM, Hacksaw saying:

one of the fed seizures obtained the code sheet linking code numbers with names

also said ARod had to go through counseling after his positive testing (and apparently he's been clean since)

--not sure where he's read this though

This implies all of the 104 on the list were referred for counseling. Now that would be a list! HIPAA violation but a soap opera writers wet dream.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/index.html

I'm so tired about the roids stuff...this is all Darwinian...people are going to do whatever it takes to get an edge. Baseball botched it for not having any regulations and this is the result. Everyone in that era has taken steroids unless proven otherwise in my opinion...and if Bonds and Arod did who cares they still were the best of this era...so put them in the hall as the steroid era players. Yes I fell bad for the Maddux's of the era but what can you do!

I don't care about who injected who's ass during what dinner party or after game locker room...let's just get back to baseball. Bud take your 18 mil this year and fix this shit and move on.

More interestingly if i was some of these players who were told that they were just trying to see how rampant steroids was in 2003 and this was your chance to clean it up and now i was reported to the media and my name was tarnished because of that...i'm surprised that no law suits have happened yet.

"Baseball botched it for not having any regulations and this is the result"

amen.

they knew about it...owners, mlb, players...everyone.

it became part of the culture for DECADES.

...then records start to get broken and people care...whatever.

you know what, Arod is a moron. He should have come out today and called a press conference. He should have called everyone a liar and swear that he never touched the stuff ever. his refusal to talk is a silent admission of his guilt.

what's the worst that can happen? he'll be known as a steroid user AND a liar? Who cares.

Freaking moron.

Maybe he didn't want to lie. Maybe he feels bad about cheating or at least bad about getting caught.

Moreover, I don't think a press conference would have helped with his image at this point--just the opposite. Righteous indignation is pretty gross in this day and age and who takes it seriously anyhow? Forget sports, between Nixon and Clinton, I think the American people take all indignant denials with a heavy load of skepticism. Once it's attributed to multiple sources in the mainstream media, you have to offer concrete proof that it's incorrect to clear your name.

it worked for blaggo...oh wait, nevermind.

horrible. If i was a player accused of steroid use and I was 100% innocent, i would scream it from the rafters. no question. if you don't deny it you are guilty.

Perhaps there's a reason that some people don't do business with Chadball Public Relations Consulting Inc.

worked great for Clemens....

i have no idea what you mean. please explain how denying anything hurt him.

perjury charges....

wrong. denying something to the press is not a crime.

true, but don't act like it worked for Clemens. Clemens did exactly what you proposed and he's in a world of hurt now. They already have proof against Arod, denying it at this point does nothing for him.

world of hurt nothing. if they have the goods on you, you are sunk. What you say to the press won't matter.

I think you nailed it with that last sentence.

After Clemens's denial all the damning evidence aganist him starting pouring out. Also look at Clinton, I believe the Tripp tapes came to light within about 3 days of his denial. The rightenous path just does not work. Any good PR guy will tell him to ride this out, the media really has ADHD and if nothing new comes to light on this it will go away the moment their is a hot new story. Just look at Phelps if he did not confirm a slimy British tabolid report about him right about now if this A-rod stuff coming out the story would have passed and he still would have his Kellogg's deal.

well at least someone makes a good point. I guess you're saying that the denial causes people to try to prove you wrong and look harder. You may have a point here.

Chad #1: what's the worst that can happen? he'll be known as a steroid user AND a liar? Who cares.

Chad #2: If i was a player accused of steroid use and I was 100% innocent, i would scream it from the rafters.

My point was in response to Chad #1. Chad #2, please go about your business.

Seriously though, maybe I misunderstood your point. I was under the impression that the point you were making was that even if he did it, he should deny it vociferously. That even if they found out that he was lying later on, it wouldn't compound the problem any since being a cheater is worse than being a liar. My point is that his denying it doesn't buy himself any credibility. Having multiple sources all confirming his positive test doesn't really leave him a lot of wiggle room.

Resisting the opportunity to make a joke about your hypothetical steroid use.

Didn't Bonds, palmeiro, Clemens try that? Seemed to work well for them!

once again, show me how it hurt them? no one cares that they are cheats AND liars.

I do. Would've respected them a little more if they'd admitted it. Would've respected them more than that had they copped to it before they got caught. Would've been best if they had never taken the drugs, clearly.

Still wouldn't have liked Clemens, but I would have respected him more. Right now he just seems like a jerk with an incredible drive to compete who can throw a baseball well.

On a side note, I think I understand how a guy who is fighting for a roster spot, or especially a guy from a 3rd world country who is financially supporting a lot of people, would end up taking PEDs. But if you're Roger Clemens and you're already an extremely successful pitcher at the major league level, then you are just taking PEDs to dominate somebody else.

ah i see. it's about your respect. i'm sure clemens cares what you think. He doesn't.

Also are you insane. i mean INFUCKINGSANE with your last paragraph? You don't understand much about athletes if you can't understand why anyone of them would try to get an edge when they can. If they are good the want to be great. If they are great, they want to be the best.

Regarding you're second paragraph, are you retarded? I mean FUCKINGRETARDED? If you knew anything about professional athletes, or had a calculator you would have noticed that 93% of MLB didn't do what you say they would do.

Redacted. I didn't read nearly closely enough before posting a stupid question. Forget I was ever here.

sorry St. Anger but your whole post is bullshit. My entire point is that at every level of every job people are always looking for an edge. Plain and simple. And to not understand why people don't want to improve it stupid. Everyone wants to improve and be better.

Now, not everyone is going go to any ends to achieve their goals. Some will. But to not understand why a guy like Clemens or Bonds would turn to the juice to be better is stupid.

Neal did a pretty good job of calling that second paragraph (except for the "FUCKINGRETARDED" bit--I like to think I would've skipped that, though I realize it was in response to something you said, Chad). I definitely understand wanting an edge, but apparently some of these athletes have limits as far as the edges they want--those limits might be rules, they might be health risks, they might be integrity. So, clearly not all athletes are willing to go after any edge regardless of the risks or drawbacks.

As far as the first paragraph, what he says to the press is all about public relations. So if we're not talking about the respect and admiration of the fans for the player--which boils down to the respect and admiration of each individual fan--then what are we talking about? If he's not worried about what I, as well as many many other people, think, then why interact with the press? I believe this conversation involved you saying that the athletes should deny, deny, deny. If not for the sake of his image, then why deny, deny, deny to the press--since it will have no bearing in court?

Katie Couric 2007 interview with ARod.

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sportsprose/2009/02/alex...

Q: For the record, have you ever done steroids, Human Growth Hormone or any other PED's?

Q: Have you ever been tempted to use any of those things?

Q: Who do you think has the real HR record, Hank Aaron or Barry Bonds?

(I've included this link in the main article, with an added section in the ARod portion)

Q: For the record, have you ever done steroids, Human Growth Hormone or any other PED's?

A: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

c'mon...the above was funny :/

His trainer told him they were Flinstone vitamins.

In the Couric interview it looks like ARod got a lips transplant from Mick Jagger. Pink lipstick? Is it possible that instead of the NY logo on his helmet/cap he will start using the Stones logo?

http://tinyurl.com/bzg97n

Now he's skipped the country and is on the lam? As Jack Brickhouse would say, "hooooboy"

(actually he's probably going to the DR for the WBC)

Scott Boras, Rodriguez's agent, said Saturday that Rodriguez was out of the country but would issue a response "as we go forward."

http://www.denverpost.com/rockies/ci_11655923?sour...

a look at what steroids can do to your skeleton...

http://tinyurl.com/annzwa

Will Carroll has a piece in BP on what's the new designer steroid of choice

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?arti...

So what are the smarter guys doing now? What's the next THG?"

"Probably SARMs, which aren't even on the legitimate market yet, but you can find on the black market. They're a nightmare for testing officials."

I'd heard a bit about SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators). The word on the street was that they had a powerful anabolic effect, but that it came from a completely different mechanism. "What do they do? I mean, how do they work and how effective are they?"

"Chemically, they bind to the androgen receptor, just like testosterone, and signal the body to build more muscle and strength. It's like testosterone without the testosterone. Actually, the testosterone analogy is apt, because they're every bit as effective as [testosterone]."

Change the rules.

You test negative today and you are allowed to use aluminum bats. Pitchers who test positive have to pitch underhanded. Product endorsements are limited to only the products they actually use (injected or injested) and only available at healthy, clean looking vitamin shoppes. Corked bats become illegal only if they break during a swing at the plate. And, maximum size of any glove is double the size of one's head.

It'd be cool to have one of those bags. Spring Training question: have the Cubs ever played a spring game in Florida?

The overhaul article on the same Trib page is surprising. Hard to believe only seven players from Opening Day last year are still on the team!

"His trainer told him they were Flinstone vitamins."

I thought he understood them to be flaxseed oil.

from Opening Day last year are still on the team!
------
opening day 2007 was 2 years ago

Nick Cafardo in the Boston Globe has a Q & A from Rich Hill

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/artic...

A few questions for Orioles lefty Rich Hill, a Milton native and University of Michigan grad:
The trade from the Cubs to the Orioles has to be good for you.

RH: "I'm so excited about it. I think the situation in Baltimore is wide open for me. The situation is great. [Cubs general manager] Jim Hendry really took care of me. He wanted to create an opportunity for me that he told me probably didn't exist in Chicago, so I'm grateful. I know Baltimore tried to deal for me last year and it didn't work out, but this time they made it work."

You hear a lot that Lou Piniella wasn't good for you. What do you think?

RH: "No. Lou was great to me. If I didn't have an injury and I could have pitched the way I know I can, there would have been no issues at all. We got along fine."

Do you feel you can find your control again?

RH: "I've had a back injury for a long time and I'm finally healthy, so the answer is yes."

It had to be frustrating because it appeared you were on your way to being a pretty dominant lefty with great stuff, including the great curveball and a fastball that gets in there at 92-93.

RH: "It's been incredibly frustrating. It just seems like I had all of my injuries all at once and there were little things. There were no tears or problems that required back surgery but just little things that messed with my delivery and my mechanics. I've also made some adjustments."

Excited about changing leagues?

RH: "Well, I get to pitch at Fenway a lot anyway, which is going to be exciting. I mean, I've talked to some of the Cubs who have pitched in the AL and sure, you have the DH, you don't have the pitcher hitting, but you don't change your mind-set or your philosophy of pitching because of it. So it's an adjustment, but pitching is pitching."

also at the end of that same Boston Globe article is some info on strong Cub interest in Orlando Hudson

Orlando Hudson, 2B, free agent: It's amazing that a player of this caliber remains unsigned, but lining up are the Cubs, White Sox, and Dodgers. A few Cubs organizational people really want Hudson, but the impending transfer of ownership from the Chicago Tribune to Tom Ricketts may hinder GM Jim Hendry's ability to do anything until it's complete.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/artic...

avoids anymore arbitration cases...

http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/29084500/

Hudson would be a strong defensive addition and a switch hitter (theme for 2009), improving in OBP, not much of a basestealer so he's been more of a #2 hitter...but his injury history (theme for 2009) just might make him the perfect addition to the team this year. Maybe they can limit him to play only when Harden and Bradley are starting? Plus the injury factor still means Miles/Fontegod get plenty of ABs

and he would keep me busy with another orthopedic annuity to write about.

Major wrist injury last year, Arizona is somewhat of a hitters park, career .346 OBP (.354, .376, .367 are his last three years, also his three highest seasonal OBPS): I don't see him being much of an improvement in OBP, but I might be overly optimistic about Fontenot.

I'm thinking of it this way: he's not an especially good basestealer, he's never hit more than 15 homeruns in a season and has really averaged 13 per 162 games, which puts him more around 10 a year, and only in 2006 and 2007 has his walk rate been impressive. He has a reputation for being a great defender, but I know I saw an article recently that said he was merely average according to some metric this year, so that's always up to debate. How big of an improvement would he be over Fontenot? I guess we don't really know what Mighty Mike can do yet. I want to see Fontenot play. Spend the money elsewhere, or stash it away for 2010. I'm just not very interested. Then again, if he'll sign for something ridiculous, like 2-3 million, I'd say sign him and tell him he's a shortstop. Then you can throw Hudson, Theriot and Fontenot into a rotation in the middle infield and never have to start Miles.

[EDIT: I'm mistaken on the walk rate: similar rates in 2008 and 2004, though 2007 and 2008 are the only really impressive OBPs, while 2006 and 2004 are more like solid. The other years are poor, as OBP goes.]

Sorry if it's 3/44, but Jon Heyman at SI has an article putting the blame for the ARod steroid revelations on Gene Orza and the union. The list of players who tested positive was supposed to have been destroyed, but Orza kept a copy in an effort to find some false positives.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_...

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