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?
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
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.
Arizona Phil 1 day 10 hours ago (view)
In addition to 40 players signed to 2020 MLB contracts, after releasing 22 minor leaguers this week the Cubs now have 279 players signed to 2020 minor league contracts (plus one minor leaguer on the Restricted List), for a total of 320 players in the organization (181 pitchers, 30 catchers, 60 infielders, and 49 outfielders).
JustSayin' 1 day 19 hours ago (view)
Years of over-drafting pitching shown here.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 21 hours ago (view)
Some of the players cut I am not too surprised by. Some of them I think are definitely victims of the minor league pay thing and being squeezed out.
That said, I am very surprised they gave up already on Riley McCauley and Niels Stone.
Hagsag 1 day 22 hours ago (view)
Baseball America is showing a big group of players that have been released.
Arizona Phil 2 days 12 hours ago (view)
The Cubs have released minor league catcher Rafelin Lorenzo. He was selected from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the AAA Phase of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft and spent the 2019 season at South Bend. He was eligible to be a minor league 6YFA post-2020.
JustSayin' 3 days 21 hours ago (view)
The organizations will cut rosters down, as if the full-season teams were breaking camp to start the season, THEN pay the remaining minor leaguers $400/week or whatever. That's similar to what costs would have normally been but the "one last chance" players who got spring training invitations this year and didn't have an obvious roster spot won't be getting their last chance.
crunch 3 days 23 hours ago (view)
"According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, all minor league players will be receiving $400 per week from MLB through at least May 31."
so that's where that promise landed. the scary thing is that's still more than some in the low minors make on a weekly basis.
crunch 6 days 15 hours ago (view)
"Jeff Passan of ESPN writes that the players and league agreed that the 2020 season won't start until "there are no bans on mass gatherings that limit the ability to play in front of fans, there are no travel restrictions and medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans." Passan does add that the two sides "will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums" and also at neutral sites.
crunch 6 days 21 hours ago (view)
i miss baseball. it could happen in june...it may happen in late may...it might not happen either way.
there's so many things getting messed up right now i would get lost making a list. there's some college guys making a serious "okay, we need to look at that guy" push that's dead. former cubs draft pick russell smith (2017, LHP highschool) took last season off for injury (TCU college) and returned with a low 90s fastball, impressive control, and a MLB-quality changeup. his "comeback" was 4 games and done thanks to this current situation...
JustSayin' 6 days 23 hours ago (view)
COVID 19 + a short draft + Manfred's obsessive drive to shrink the minor leagues will change baseball forever. It WAS still America's grass roots sport. Where I live, from June through August, you could see a quality live game any day of the week, within an hour's drive. I believe that era is over. What's going on will have ripple effects, contracting serious college ball, college summer leagues and independent pro ball just as much as the MiLB systems. With those changes, some of the game's charm will also go. I've seen a kid from Cape Cod play in the Ca
crunch 1 week 21 hours ago (view)
fyi for anyone who bought MLB.tv
for "some reason" getting a cancel+refund via phone is like pulling teeth, but if you contact them via a webpage contact request many people are getting a cancel+refund confirmation within an hour or 2...
bradsbeard 1 week 1 day ago (view)
I imagine because the new labor agreement freezes rosters as of whenever the agreement is approved by the owners and it might affect what those guys are paid under the agreement.
Hagsag 1 week 1 day ago (view)
AZ Phil. what was the reason that a whole bunch of teams optioned or assigned players to the minor leagues yesterday on March 26 ? Thanks.
Arizona Phil 1 week 1 day ago (view)
jdrnym: Ordinarily, players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are on Optional Assignment to the minors do not accrue MLB Service Time, are paid at the minor league rate rather than at the MLB rate if the player has a "split" contract, and if the player gets hurt or becomes sick after being optioned, he can be placed on a minor league IL instead of on an MLB IL (so that he cannot accrue MLB Service Time or be paid at the MLB rate while he is on the IL). Also, a player who is optioned to the minors for at least 20 days will burn an option year.
jdrnym 1 week 1 day ago (view)
AZPhil, what are the technical ramifications of optioning/not optioning guys during this period of no baseball? Seems like some teams are more eager than others to trim their roster down.
crunch 1 week 3 days ago (view)
"Major League Baseball has agreed with the MLBPA to grant a full year of service time to players in 2020 regardless of how many games the schedule includes.
Rosenthal adds, however, that the two sides have agreed to "table discussions" on how much service time the players would receive if the worst-case scenario plays out and the 2020 season has to be canceled entirely due to the coronavirus pandemic."