Good afternoon! Well, let's start with Mr. Ryan Braun ...
What are your thoughts on Ryan Braun?
I haven't written anything on it yet and to be honest, I'm not sure what to think until there is more evidence. If it turns out the evidence is overwhelming that he used PEDs, then I think the situation is far different from what happened with Bonds/McGwire/Palmeiro/etc. when there was no testing and no MLB rules against using PEDs.
at what point are we going to stop being surprised and disappointed about individuals testing positive for PEDs and start recognizing that it continues to be a widespread problem? more than ever i'm personally feeling like they are all doing it and every now and again someone gets caught. and if true i say this changes how we should look at this. is this a cheating issue or is it a type of public health problem? is "cheating" really the right word if everyone else is doing it too? at that point are you really just keeping up? and last, but definitely not least, how many of us can honestly say we'd never do it? not even if on the verge of realizing a life long dream? these are hard questions, but i think it's time for this discussion to take place.
MK -- I agree. Players have always and will always look for an edge, whether its greenies, steroids, creatine, other muscle builders, six cans of Red Bull, laser eye surgery, corked bats, scuffing the ball, HGH and so on. To think baseball is "clean" because the testing is now more rigorous is of course absurd, just as absurd as thinking only a few NFL players are using steroids each season.
Joe Posnanski wrote a good blog the other day. Pete Rose had apparently said one reason he should be considered for the Hall of Fame is that he was "clean." Joe's point, which I agree with, is that if any player would have used steroids if the culture had been different when he was playing, it would have been Pete Rose. I respect a guy like Mike Schmidt who has said he would have used steroids if they'd been around when he played.
Would there still be disbelief of Braun's positive test if it wasn't Braun, but maybe a more Hispanic sounding last name?
Right, which gets to MK's point -- you can't assume anybody "does it the right way," because we just don't know.
David, any idea why more attention is not being paid to the fact that we, the public, should NOT know that Ryan Braun failed a drug test? We are supposed to trust the results of these tests, when MLB has proven on several occasions that it cannot hold up its end of the bargain - namely, confidentiality?
Yep, great point. This should not have leaked until Braun's appeal process was finished. Interestingly, while reports said no positive test had ever been overturned, Jimmy Rollins tweeted the other day that he, in fact, knew of at least one such. So what the news reports should apparently have said: No positive test revealed publicly has ever been overturned. And, yes, it's reprehensible that this would leak until (if) Braun is officially suspended.
How could he make the interview rounds for his MVP win knowing this was hanging over his head?
Well, I'm sure we'll learn more about his defense plan in the upcoming days/weeks.
Shouldn't the Yanks be making some sort of move this offseason? With the Angels and Sox already making big moves and the Rangers probably going to make one more, we seem to be the only contender not making one. What's Cashman thinking?
I got a lot of these questions during the Winter Meetings, and I just don't think there's a lot for the Yankees to do. Their lineup is set and they have to give Jesus Montero a chance to be the regular DH. The bullpen is set with Rivera, Robertson, Soriano and Logan. That leaves the rotation. The Yankees believe in Phil Hughes and want him to join CC, Burnett and Nova. (And they re-signed Freddy Garcia.) Brian Cashman realizes that at some point you have to get younger, thus the reluctance to deal Banuelos and/or Betances. They didn't view C.J. Wilson as a New York-type pitcher. So, really, the only move that makes much sense is going after Yu Darvish, which remains a possibility.
And if it's a prohibited substance, not a PED, what difference does that make? And if it's a false positive, does Braun's image recover?
That's a good question. It won't affect his suspension most likely, but I do think it helps his public image if he can prove he was taking Rogaine or something he bought at GNC or whatever. Then again ... but proving that, as we've seen in other sports, has proven pretty difficult.
The only thing the Yankees need is a pitcher, and much to FLA and LAA's chagrin, CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle aren't going to be great signs in a few years. I'm not sure what Yankee fans expect them to do.
Exactly. By all accounts, the Yankees may actually want to bring down their payrolls in upcoming years into the $180 range, and signing Buehrle and Wilson wouldn't do that.
Should your Mariners just call it a day and trade King Felix for a boatload of prospects? Gardner, Montero, Betances to start?
I wrote the other that day it may finally be time for Seattle to consider trading King Felix. The Mariners aren't going to win the AL West the next two years. That brings us to 2014 -- Felix's final season under contract. Will the team be better by then? Will he want to stay? Will he be tired of crappy offensive support? His trade value right now is enormous, with three years under contract. They've said he's not on the block and I believe them, and the PR hit would be disastrous, but it's time to explore the idea that may be better off trading him. My suggestion was Montero, Gardner and Banuelos. Not sure teams want to give up that much these days, however.
Dave, what are the Angels plans with Trumbo and Morales now that Pujols is their first baseman. As a Cards fan I would love to give Morales to have him on the team this year and take over first in 2013. The Cardinals have a decent farm system for the first time since the 80's what would it take to bring Morales here, without giving up Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez.
The Angels still seem to insist they want to try Trumbo at third base, even though he's never played a game there in the majors or minors. They wanted to send him to winter ball, but he developed an injury (sorry, forget what it was) and will have to wait for spring training. As for Morales, nobody is going to trade for him until he shows he's healthy and can play. And I think the Cards are content (and smart) to play Berkman at first, with Craig in right field (they may need to find a stopgap for Craig for a few weeks in case his knee doesn't heal by Opening Day).
The Twins need to drastically improve their rotation, Saunders or Harden seem like they'd be good fits. Any interest there to your knowledge?
Joe Saunders was not tendered a contract today, so he's a free agent. Interesting decision by Arizona. He certainly fits the Minnesota profile -- doesn't throw hard, throws strikes, doesn't strike anybody yet (ugh). Man, at some point don't the Twins need to find somebody for the rotation who can actually strike people out?
What are your thoughts that the baseball writers seem to be saying they will not strip Braun of his MVP even if found guilty? If this test stands positive don't you have to either give the MVP to Kemp or start voting the McGwires and Palmeiros for the HOF?
FYI -- Arizona could still try to re-sign Saunders, but there should be a big market for him.I think the problem with those who think Braun should be stripped of his MVP award is that he tested positive during the playoffs, not the regular season. So even the evidence would suggest he was clean during the regular season. I don't see how you can take the award from him. So as of now, I don't think I see a contradiction.
Are the Tigers the front runners to land Cuban Yoennis Cespedes??
The buzz at the winter meetings had Detroit as the favorite, or certainly the team that seemed to love him the most. Marlins also potentially in on him, especially if they think he can play center field.
To be clear, there really isn't any mechanism for "un-rewarding" an MVP award (or any major award), correct?
Not with the BBWAA. The football writers re-voted after 2009 rookie of the year winner Brian Cushing tested positive after the season. (He won in the re-vote ... could you imagine that happening with the BBWAA?)
Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Homer Bailey, and pieces for King Felix. Send him to the 'Nati while Joey Votto is still a Red and the Central is there for the taking.
Any chance the Dodgers sign Fielder? A core of Fielder, Kemp and Kershaw would have to look attractive to a new owner and land them a larger TV contract.
There are still eight teams linked/rumored to Prince, but the Dodgers are not one of them. The teams: Cubs, Rangers, Mariners, Orioles, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Nationals, Marlins.
Why is it that nobody ever talks about Tim Raines, Paul Molitor, and a host of others that admittedly used cocaine in the early 80's. You don't think that enhanced performance and was a pick-me-up?
And the many Hall of Famers who ingested amphetamines for years.
Why trade Hernandez? After this season Ichiros 17M comes off the books and Hernandez is about the only payroll Seattle has tied up. They have so much payroll flexibility that I think hes the one guy they can afford.
Right, I don't necessarily advocate trading him, just that I think for the first time they should at least look into it. With Michael Pineda and prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton, their future could be awesome anyway. Walker, Hultzen and Paxton all look like A or A- prospects, and they don't have any hitters rated nearly as high. That's one potential reason you could consider trading him.
There seems to be a depressing amount of chatter on Reds blogs that we should trade Joey Votto now because he's just going to leave in two years after his current contract (which he just signed for Pete's sake). Are we trapped in some sort of small market stockholm syndrome? It's like we don't know what to do with great players so we are eager throw them away to avoid dealing with them.
This will contradict what I just said a bit, but ... you don't win pennants by trading superstars. One difference between the Reds and Mariners: The Reds can win NOW. You have to ride out Votto and see if you can win. (Similar to what Tampa did with Carl Crawford.) This new thing where everybody says you have to trade your star player because you can't afford him in two years ... why? How often do those trades work out? I mean, other than Mark Teixeira trade.
Pujols gone, Braun possibly out 50 games, and Fielder likely leaving Milwaukee...don't you think the Reds should be wanting to get this James Shields done now more than ever? It's prime opportunity to take the Central back and try to make a postseason run before Votto signs with STL as a free agent.
Same thing I just said -- why does Tampa need to trade Shields? He's signed to a very team-friendly deal, they can win now with him, their payroll can absorb his contract for now. Of course he makes sense for the Reds ... but he makes sense for the Rays. I don't think Tampa deals him.
The biggest problem the Yanks may have is figuring out how to deal with the DH logjam when it's clear that A-Rod won't be more than a part-time third-baseman in the next year or two. It would be convenient if Montero could develop into a good-enough catcher to play back there at least twice a week in order to open up the DH spot, but that seems unlikely. Hank Steinbrenner's baseball smarts knows no boundaries, I suppose....
Dave I thought the Nats would be more active in Free Agency. Local beat is insisting they are not in on Fielder, and likely not in on Cespedes or Darvish. Is Oswalt really going to be our only addition?
What I heard at the winter meetings -- I'm sure what you read from your local guys as well -- was that they really wanted Buehrle, with Wilson second on their list. I think they believe they can get enough offense in the future with Zimmerman, Morse, Werth, Harper, Espinosa, Ramos, plus 2011 No. 1 pick Anthony Rendon. And they may be right. As nice as Fielder looks, they're probably making the smart move by NOT forking over $160+ million for him, try to fill out the rotation with a guy like Oswalt, and hope the young hitters develop.
Why isn't anyone talking about the fact that the mystery team struck again? After years where there always seemed to be a mystery team's interest leaked to try and create leverage where there was none by the player, in consecutive years Pujols and Cliff Lee were signed by the mystery team.
As Joaquin Andujar once said, in baseball youneverknow.
Matt Moore over/under 3.00 ERA?
Over. He's good, but ... well, let's do a quick search here. Hold on.
The only rookie since 2000 to post an ERA under 3.00 (162 innings mimimum) was Jeremy Hellickson this past season. And he had an enormously fluke-ish low BABIP to help him achieve that.
When Nolan Ryan says he likes Mitch Moreland he really means patience is a virtue and he LOVES Joey Votto right?
My gut keeps saying the Rangers are going to swoop in and sign Fielder even though Ryan has denied interest. Although Votto ... hmm, hadn't thought of that. Sign Darvish, trade for Votto? Rangers/Angels ... the new Yankees/Red Sox?
i say tim from PA has a valid general point, even if impossible to literally take the award from braun. either braun doesn't deserve the mvp or the mcgwires of the world are hall of famers.
Regarding those who think MVP should be taken away: How do we know Kemp wasn't taking them? Not to pick on him because I have no reason to think he took PEDs, but a week ago I had no reason to think Braun took them. If it comes out in 3 months that Kemp was taking them, do you give it to the 3rd place winner? Then the 4th, 5th, etc? Where would it stop?
I noticed Desmond is an omission from your list... he's the most likely to be let go or traded once Rendon is ready, correct?
I'm not a big of Desmond and Espinosa came up through the system as a shortstop. Trouble is, they'll have to find a position for Rendon, and apparently there is belief he may be handle second base (he played third at Rice). These things can sort themselves out. Maybe Rendon ends up in left with Morse moving back to first (which is probably his "natural" position).
My problem with Oswalt is he is a declining player with a back problem; back problems don't get better. I'd rather go with Peacock and Detwiler to fill the back of the rotation until either a better starter becomes available (James Shields?) or one of their real nice prospect (AJ Cole?) develops.
to illustrate your point, david....twins "haul" for santana? calos gomez, philip humber and two other guys who haven't been to the big leagues yet. and, incidentally, in what would have been santana's last year with minny, twins lost game 163 to white sox. coulda, woulda, shoulda
Exactly ... that trade cost the Twins a chance at a World Series title. None of the three teams that traded Cliff Lee have gotten much in return (jury still out on Justin Smoak). You can go on and on ...
Brian Saeben trades Wheeler for Beltran then this offseason says Beltran doesnt fit. he is competing with Beane for worst GM in that area.
The Braves have talked about Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado as trade chips to acquire an outfield bat with "pop." This has prompted 2 thoughts. Isn't this a case of a team selling low on both accounts (an injured Jurrjens and Prado coming of a career-worst season), and is it possible they could even acquire an "impact" bat above the level of free agent Josh Willingham or Luke Scott?
I think there is a lot of concern about Jurrjens' knee -- I have a feeling the trade market for him just isn't that great, so why deal him? And Prado is a great bounce-back candidate. I know Braves fans are desperate for a move, but I actually think the smart thing for them may be to sit tight, see the health of Jurrjens and Hanson in spring training, see if Prado rebounds ... and THEN make a move if you have to.
What's your take on the youngsters Tyler Skaggs, Drew Hutchison, and Alex Cobb? How would you rank 'em and what kind of upside do you see there?
Saw Cobb pitch a couple times with Tampa before his injury. I really like him. Not overpowering, but throws strikes, had a pretty good K rate in the minors. He's not the prospect that Hutchison and Skaggs are in terms of pure stuff, but I think he can have a good career. I'd probably go Skaggs, Hutchison, Cobb ... but good question for Keith Law.
As things stand at this very moment, who is your favorite to win the NL Central next year?
Hmm ... Cards, Brewers and Reds in a three-way tie? Not the answer you want? Actually, I wrote yesterday that the Brewers are still in good shape, even minus Prince and Braun for 50 games. That's how bad McGehee was last year and the value of Gonzalez's glove over Betancourt's. So I'd probably go: Mil, Cin, StL ... but very even and if Wainwright is healthy, maybe move Cards up to first. Should be a great race.
What's your take on the Cahill/Parker deal?
Check my blog ... thought it was an excellent deal for Arizona. The stat I liked: Cahill had 13 starts allowing 1 run or zero runs ... I think only five AL pitchers had more. When he's on, he's on, just needs more consistency and he could be a good No. 2.
I'm sick and tired Dave. Being a MN sports fan is the pits. So paint a pretty picture of the upcoming Twins season. The stadiums nice, they sell Summit in my section. Other than that.....ugh. Please. Help.
I'm from Seattle, how do you think I feel?
If, and it is a huge if, Felix gets traded, do you really think the Yanks offer is the best that the M's can get? Wouldn't Anthopolous in Toronto, rangers, nats or Dbacks, or even the rays blow open the doors for a controllable ace pitcher? I dont understand why everyone thinks the Yankees will get Felix if he is traded. I can think of several teams willing and able to beat the yanks.
Right, I didn't mean to imply the Yankees are the only team that could get. The New York papers love stirring up the Felix rumors every few weeks, so that's why you always hear about New York. Anyway, we're really wasting our time -- he's not going anywhere this offseason. (Famous last words!)
To counter your Rendon in LF, that would mean putting Harper or Werth in CF. That might make the worst defensive outfield in baseball. Maybe Desmond could be moved there? Unless Eury Perez or Brian Goodwin zip through the minors.
Davey Johnson talked about that at the winter meetings. He likes Werth in CF. Of course, he's going to say that, but I think Werth would be adequate out there for at least a couple more years. And Harper can run and throw, so should project to be at least average out there. I don't think it's a terrible outfield, at least for two years or so. (And Davey has a history of going with a good bat over defense -- Howard Johnson at SS, Wally Backman at 2B, Gregg Jefferies at 2B, etc.)
Have any of you (you included, Mr. Schoenfield), ever actually read about steroids and how they affect performance in baseball? Because they don't.
Devil's advocate: So players use them because ... ???
Then Mike Schmidt ain't too smart... steroids have been around for a long time! 60's or 70's if not earlier. Look at any East German "woman's" weightlifting team, etc.
Umm.. without doing any research, didn't Jamie Garcia just finish his rookie year in 2010 with an era under 3?
You correct. Sorry, I did a quick scan and missed him. Let's put it this way: Since 2000, only nine players in their first or second season have pitched 162 innings with an ERA under 3.00 -- Hellickson, Cahill, Garcia, Latos, Kershaw, Lincecum, Dice-K, Prior, Webb. I believe Hellickson and Garcia were only rookies in that group.
Would Seattle trade Chone Figgins to the Mets for Jason Bay?
Seattle would, but the Mets would not.
bring down the Yanks payroll? haha... that's like saying the Jays will raise theirs!
What is your guess as to the winning bid for Darvish, and who makes it?
Good question ... let's throw this out to the readers before we wrap up this chat!
Without knowing whether or not steriods really do enhance baseball performance, I can easily tell you why players use them.Because the players themselves BELIEVE that steriods enhance performance in baseball. Whether or not they do is a question to be answered by scientists and researchers, not ballplayers.
David, Chris (Boston) is absolutely correct. Steroids had nothing to do with McGwire, Sosa and Barry Bonds smashing home run records. Nothing at all.
Players would use steroids because of perceived advantage, which isn't the same as actual advantage.
Players use steroids because they help you recover from injury faster. This is especially useful for pitchers whose job is essentially to destroy their arms every few days.
Did you hear I took steroids? Added 4-5 mph to my fastball (in other words, the difference between stuck in Double A and becoming an All Star closer)
The Nats have Espinosa, Zimmerman and Ramos. Desmond has yet to show he can hit enough to play SS, let alone OF. Harper is gonna play RF for years to come, Werth is gonna play LF or 1B, Rizzo loves defense, and Werth isn't a CF long term. Morse is either 1B or LF, wherever Werth doesn't play. Rendon has an injury history and while we'd all love him to play 2b, he might fit best at 1B. So basically they have to see if Rendon can hit, and if he can, they will probably see what they can get for him or Morse in a trade at some point, because they'll have too many Corner types.
Ultimately, I do think you're correct. Another reason they couldn't sign Prince -- as much as it would be, a lineup with Prince (1B), Rendon (2B), Espinosa (SS), Morse (LF), Werth (CF) and Harper (RF) would arguably be stretched defensively at every position.
David, what is the honest-to-goodness best case scenario for Braun? From the looks of things, there is a whole contingent of our society which is, for some reason, satisfied when watching a big name go down. Is there ANY recovery from this even if he miraculously wins the appeal?
That gets back to the leak and how shameful it is that happened: What if he DOES win? Isn't his reputation tarnished at this point no matter what? OK, best-case scenario, which assumes some left of guilt on his part: By the reports we've seen, he may have used a banned substance, not PEDs. He should come clean, explain why he uses the product, what he thought he gained from using the product, apologize to fans and teammates, say he won't use the product again and that he believes the drug testing program is necessary to help keep the sport as clean as possible.
Must have missed when "All Star closer" John Rocker was an All-Star. Also, just watch any show/game with former players as analysts - most can't give coherent or factual reasons for/against strategies for the game they spent 20+ years playing. Pardon me if I don't trust their judgment when it comes to believing that steroids are magic pills that can turn any nobody into 2001 Barry Bonds.
You are correct. Rocker was never an All-Star. I don't think anybody argues that steroids can turn anybody in 2001 Barry Bonds. After all, Bonds was already the best player in the game before 2001.
Wait, steroids help you recover from injuries? Someone want to let Mauer & Morneau know?
David, Science is about discovering what we do not yet know. We may not yet know how steroids impact performance, but the anecdotal evidence that they improve performance is overwhelming.
Jon Jay for Morse. Solves needs for each team. Sounds fair, doesn't it?
Who plays center field for St. Louis?
Dave, tell Charlie to find me on Nats Insider message board (on the Post) and we can sort this out.
Charlie should bear in mind this is ALL moot if Ryan Zimmerman goes elsewhere.
I say the Cubs win it at 42 million, signing Darvish at 6 years $50 million.
Saw an article today by Keri that disputed that steroids help you play baseball. Steroids (when used correctly) help you become stronger and faster, with less fatigue, and less recovery time from one day to the next. Since the eye is a muscle, I would assume it would help eyesight. And it helps confidence. Which is a huge factor in baseball.
Back when I was on Page 2, Patrick Hruby did a great story for us about the benefits of steroids, talking to scientists, steroids experts, etc. Yes, improving eyesight is one potential benefit. Swinging the bat faster (which leads to more power) is another benefit. Maybe the benefits are small and impossible to pinpoint, but I do believe there are benefits. (Whether I care all that much is another issue.)
Bonds, Mcguire, Sosa and Clemens all bulked up beyond belief and we rightly believe that steroids is a cause. Yet Palmeiro did not, blamed Miggy for giving him something, and Miggy, I believe, was suspected later in some type of a drug usage. Why don't we give Raffy the benefit of the doubt?
I don't know. I did it on hot dogs and beer!
Actually, there are stories that Ruth may have taken some form of "magic elixir" available back then that may have been derived from animal testosterone!
Adron Chambers in CF for the Cards. (Eek)
I don't think any credible person is claiming that steroids directly influence baseball performance. But the indirect benefit of steroids is undeniable. They do what they are intended to do. Ask anyone who's taken them.
Forgive us Nats fans for trying to fit square pegs into round holes. We've never had the problem of more than one good player at the same position. Ultimately, i think they'll look for another middle infielder using Rendon or Morse. Morse was such a great story, but they only have control of him til when, end of 2013? He turns 32 at the start of 2014, are they gonna re-sign him then? Probably not, so getting value out of him now makes sense, but unlike back when they stunk, they have to see if Rendon is the real deal first, they can't simply trade away Morse now.
If steroids help players heal, and ML baseball has so many millions invested in them, why not a policy to allow a team to submit a request for limited use under League supervision until such time as the league determines they are Ok. We then eliminate the argument that "I took them for an injury"
I was given steroids when I had Bronchitis.... Am I a user?
You're banned for the next 50 chats!
OK, time to wrap up and grab some lunch. Good discussion today. Maybe by this time next week Prince Fielder will have a home!