|Curt Schilling on D&C: Hall of Fame shutout ‘one of the prices’ all players paid for failure to address steroids||01.10.13 at 10:16 am ET|
Retired Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, in an interview on Dennis & Callahan on Thursday morning, said that the collective decision by Hall of Fame voters to not elect a single player to Cooperstown this year was a clear consequence of the failure by players in the era in which he played to police the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the game. (To listen to the complete interview, click here.)
“I think, with a few exceptions, nobody knows [who used performance-enhancing drugs], so the whole lot of us are lumped in together. Nobody knows,” said Schilling. “We didn’t do anything about it. At the end of the day, we didn’t do anything about it. We knew about it. I think we all had an idea, a really strong suspicion, but we didn’t do anything about it. And we sat by, and we turned a blind eye, and I think this is one of the prices that we ended up paying.”
Asked what he would have done differently if he could have had the opportunity to revisit the era when steroid use was rampant, Schilling did not hesitate.
“I think I would have reacted to the first time [former pitcher and leading Players' Association member] Rick Helling stood up in a player’s union meeting and said what are we going to do about testing? And I think there were a lot of players who wanted to react,” said Schilling. “But I think it was one of those things, like everything else that comes from being in a game mentality, you’re afraid to go against the stream. And I think that’s one of the last times in my life that I didn’t.”
Schilling said that, if he were entrusted with a vote, he wouldn’t vote for players who cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs. At the same time, he acknowledged that, from the vantage point of history, it’s problematic that players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens (as well as Pete Rose, who is banned from baseball — and hence, from Hall of Fame consideration — after gambling on the sport) do not have places in Cooperstown. Read the rest of this entry »
|Can they find the next Cy guy? A look at the history of Red Sox’ 2012 draft picks||06.01.12 at 6:55 pm ET|
The idea behind the draft, and behind the changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement meant to deter teams from signing players to bonuses above Major League Baseball’s slot recommendations, is to get the most talent to the worst teams. So, the best players are supposed to be at the top of the draft, with a progressive narrowing of the funnel the further down one gets in the draft.
But that’s not always how it works. Sometimes, the best picks in a draft are found late in the first round, or in the second round or the 10th (there’s a fellow named Pujols…). It’s both the challenge and fascination of the Major League draft, the most inexact of all of the professional sports due to the need in most instances for years of development in the minor leagues before a player is ready to contribute at the major league level.
The history of the spots where the Red Sox will make their early-round picks this year suggests as much. One can make the case that the pick with the least impactful history of the Sox’ top three (or even five) choices has been the team’s top overall selection at the No. 24 spot. After all, while a few All-Stars have been taken at No. 24, the Sox’ next three selections — No. 31, 37 and even 87 — have netted Cy Young winners and even a player whose spot in the inner sanctum of Cooperstown is assured.
In other words, the position of the pick doesn’t necessarily illuminate what kind of major league career a player will have. An obscure pick at No. 117 can have a greater impact that a player taken at No. 24. That is why draft rooms are filled with lively debate, round after round, with decisions made based on the area scouts who have seen an obscure later-round pick 10 times or more and become convinced that, while a player might not look like a big leaguer at the moment at which he is drafted, in three or five or seven years’ time, the players skill set and makeup will eventually yield a player who can help a major league team.
“The foundation for what we do is all based on our area guys, our area scouts. When you have strong area scouts that believe in certain players, it doesn’t matter if that player is in the second round, the ninth round, the 16th, 17th round, (a) Josh Reddick-type player. Our area scout really believed in Josh Reddick,” said Sox amateur scouting director Amiel Sawdaye. “To me, it’s about how strong your area guys are. We have a group that’s been together for a while where we feel really confident that the players we’re going to be talking about, whether it’s later on or early, there are big leaguers that are on the board.”
Here is a look at the types of players who have been taken with the selections at which the Sox will make their first five picks:
1st round — No. 24 (complete history)
All-Stars: Chad Billingsley (2003), Rondell White (1990), Terry Mulholland (1984)
Red Sox picks: Corey Jenkins (1995; never played in majors), Joseph McCullough (1966; never played in majors)
Big leaguers: 26 Read the rest of this entry »
|Could CC Sabathia be a bust in the remaining years of his contract?||11.01.11 at 10:18 am ET|
In the first three years of his contract with the Yankees, CC Sabathia more than lived up to his share of the bargain. Despite his residence in the AL East, he has been the same dominating force that he had been in previous years in the AL and NL Central. He owns a 59-23 record and 3.18 ERA, while averaging 8.0 strikeouts and 2.6 walks per nine innings. In all likelihood, he will finish in the top five in Cy Young balloting for the third time in as many seasons in New York. And, of course, Sabathia has been not only dominant but also a workhorse, making at least 33 starts in all three of his Yankees seasons while averaging 235 innings a year. The list of cautionary tales of free agent pitchers is long (hello, John Lackey!), but Sabathia is not one of them.
At least not yet.
However, the giant left-hander’s deal included an opt-out after three years, and so he had the right to become a free agent this offseason, at a time when he had four years and $92 million left on his deal. However, the pitcher and his team avoided going down that road by reaching an agreement that tacked on a guarantee $30 million and one more year to his deal, with a vesting option for a second addition season. And so, in essence, Sabathia agreed to remain with the Yankees for a five-year, $122 million deal that includes an option that could push the contract’s value to $142 million over six years. Read the rest of this entry »
|How Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and two Superstations influenced Bobby Jenks||02.21.11 at 10:06 am ET|
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Change is never easy.
But Bobby Jenks has made a career out of it. The former fifth-round pick of the Anaheim Angels in 2000 came up through their system as a starter, cut from the same mold as Roger Clemens: big, strong and intimidating.
The new Red Sox, who will share the late innings with Daniel Bard behind Jonathan Papelbon, acknowledged Monday that he was a big fan of Clemens and Greg Maddux when he broke into baseball as a starter.
“When I was younger, I was a starting pitcher and I looked up to Roger Clemens a lot and I used to watch him and Greg Maddux a lot because I grew up a huge Braves fan,” Jenks said. “You’re either a Cubs fan with TBS and WGN so I had TBS and Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens were the two biggest guys that I watched.”
[AUDIO: Listen to Bobby Jenks talk about Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and his right elbow.]
But one elbow surgery and rehab was all it took to change the course of his career.
Jenks ran into elbow problems in 2004 in the Angels system and was waived before being picked up by the White Sox in 2005.
“It was a combined decision in ’04 after I had my elbow surgery to try to keep less innings and less stress on the elbow so the year before, in talking with the Angels, I knew I might be going into the bullpen in that ’05 season with the Angels but I ended up getting picked up by the White Sox and it just worked out the same way,” Jenks added.
Jenks appeared in 32 regular season games for the 2005 White Sox before leading his team to a World Series title with two saves apiece against the Red Sox and Astros in the ALDS and World Series.
|Picking a winner? A look at the draft picks gained and lost by the Red Sox||01.16.11 at 8:14 am ET|
It was not long ago that teams signed free agents without regard for the draft pick they would have to sacrifice to do so. Clearly, that has changed.
Indeed, the pick that a team must sacrifice to sign a Type A free agent who rejects salary arbitration from his former club has become so significant that it reportedly became the subject of significant contention in the Yankees organization. Earlier this month, New York GM Brian Cashman said the Yankees — after being spurned by Cliff Lee — wouldn’t sign a Type A free agent because they were unwilling to sacrifice their first-round pick. But he was reportedly overruled at the ownership level, resulting in the decision to give up the No. 31 overall selection and sign Rafael Soriano as the most expensive setup man in history.
Just how valuable is the No. 31 overall pick? The answer varies significantly by year.
In 46 June drafts, just 15 players taken at the No. 31 spot have reached the majors. (For the complete list, click here.) Only two of them emerged as above-average players. One was Jarrod Washburn, who won 107 games after being taken by the Angels in 1995. The other? Greg Maddux, whose 355 career wins are the most by a right-hander whose career started after the World War…World War I, that is.
The Red Sox’ free-agent activity resulted in their losing their own first-round pick (No. 24 overall) while gaining two (Nos. 19 and 26). Under GM Theo Epstein, the Sox have used compensation draft picks to acquire a number of their key prospects. (For details, click here.)
But historically, what kind of players have been selected with the first-round picks gained and sacrificed by the Sox this winter? Here is a look at the history of the three first-round draft picks that were affected by the Red Sox’ free agent activity this offseason:
|Where’s Bradford?||08.22.08 at 7:45 am ET|
Just in case you want to check in later, I’ll be in Philadelphia covering the Dodgers-Phillies game. You can probably figure out why … (and no it has nothing to do with Greg Maddux‘ second-first start with the Dodgers). I’ll bring you every dreadlocked update possible throughout the late afternoon/early evening.’
(By the way, I realize the risk of copyright infringement in regards to “Where’s Trags?” This is just a cheap imitation.)
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