Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Steroid/Stimulant Use Penalties Just Got Tougher

Earlier this morning we brought you the results from the previous season’s steroid and performance enhancing drug testing done by Major League Baseball and now we bring you a bit of news regarding those 15 failed drug tests out of the 8,281 tests given and what it could  mean to those whole try to “beat the train” again in 2017. The testing is getting harder and more frequent in the new collective bargaining agreement and the penalties are too.

The suspension for a second stimulant violation, such as Adderall, is going up from 25 games to 50 games while a third violation is now a 100-game suspension, up from 80 games just a season ago. You better get that medical exemption if you want to use Adderall, just saying. A fourth suspension is an automatic permanent ban from the game of Major League Baseball.

You may take your case to an arbitrator to get your penalties decreased, the arbitrator can decrease the suspension to as little as 30 games which is down from 40 games just a season ago, as a first-time offender but you must prove that the stimulant found in your urine was there and “not your fault.” However you do that. I guess by pulling a David Ortiz and buying “some supplement from the mall at some damn GNC” while hugging the Commissioner… again, just saying. 

There’s Always Next Year w/ Shohei Otani

Chicago Cubs fans no longer have to say “there’s always next year” after their World Series victory in 2016, their first since the 1908 Fall Classic, but New York Yankees fans find themselves saying that once again when it comes to Japanese-born right-handed starting pitcher Shohei Otani. For a couple seasons now the talk has been whether the best pitcher in Japan would be coming to the Major Leagues and whether the New York Yankees, who are always starved for starting pitching, would sign him but once again the Yankees have to wait and hope for next year. Shohei Otani is not coming over to the Major Leagues before next season, again.

Otani is just 22-years old but has been talk around the Major Leagues for at least two-or-three offseasons now. Otani has shown loads of potential as a hitter, which is why he remains in Japan and which is why he may prefer to play for a National League team, but he has excelled as a pitcher which is what has drawn MLB teams to him despite not being eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.

According to reports the Nippon Ham Fighters, Otani’s current team in the Japanese League, is willing to place Otani through the posting system whenever the right-hander is ready to head to the Major Leagues. Otani signed a $2.37 million deal for the 2017 season with the Fighters so I guess that dream is on hold for just one more season, at least.

35 New Free Agents Enter the Fold

As you have already learned the New York Yankees lost future reliever Jacob Lindgren to the Atlanta Braves after the team non-tendered him a contract making him a free agent. Lindgren will likely miss all of the 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery so I feel it is safe to presume that the Yankees felt like they could sign him to a new minor league deal while getting him off the 40-man roster before the Braves swooped in and gave him a cool million bucks to rehab down in Atlanta. This such scenario, or a similar one at least, happened for 35 players before the deadline adding 35 new free agents into the fold, let’s take a look at them.

Tyson Ross likely headlines the pack of new free agents after becoming an All-Star just two seasons ago with the San Diego Padres. Joining Tyson Ross are other notables including Washington Nationals outfielder Ben Revere, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Cody Asche, Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, Baltimore Orioles starter Vance Worley and Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen arm Louis Coleman. Chris Carter, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers, and Jeff Locke, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates, were also non-tendered but only after being designated for assignment last week.

Ross is likely the most intriguing for the Yankees followed possibly by Vance Worley only because they are starting pitchers, an obvious need for the Yankees. Ross is still just 29-years old and is coming off a season in which he posted a 13-14 record with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 before slipping a bit to 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA in 2015. 2016 was a different scenario for Ross though posting just one MLB appearance due to a thoracic outlet syndrome surgery he had in the offseason. Ross earned $9.625 million in 2016 for that one appearance and will look to latch on with a team despite his four-to-six month recovery time for the surgery he had in October. He may or may not be ready for spring training but on a one-year deal with incentives, he isn’t going to take a minor league deal at 29-years old, I don’t see an issue with taking a waiver on him whatsoever. Do it.

Worley would be a fifth starter with the Yankees and an innings eater, nothing more unfortunately. He is AL East trained after pitching with the Baltimore Orioles last season but he should be a clear Plan C or below. I’d take him personally but only after a lot of names and a whole lot of arms came off the board. That’s just me. It’s Ross or bust in my opinion. What say you?

MLB Releases Drug Testing Results from 2016

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have released the results from league-wide drug testing in 2016. Here are the results if you were curious.

All-in-all there were 8,281 tests performed under MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program dating back to last offseason to this offseason and of those over 8,000 tests only 15 were failed tests for either steroids, performance enhancing drugs or stimulants. Twelve of the fifteen were for PED’s while three were for stimulants such as Adderall.

Speaking of Adderal, 105 medical exemptions were given to players who suffered from attention deficit disorder (ADD) in 2016 which equates to 8% of all MLB players.

All-in-all you have to think MLB is happy with these numbers. That number is never going to be 0 but I think that 15 failed tests in an entire calendar year is as close to that number as you’re going to get. There’s always going to be those handful of players that want to “beat the train” and take those drugs anyway so this is a win in my eyes for MLB.

Great job. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/6: Left Intentionally Blank

this was left intentionally blank to emphasize my point.

Surprisingly not a single bit of news, a single trade, a single free agent signing, nothing happened on this day in New York Yankees history. Maybe Brian Cashman can make some news today so we can write about it next year.