|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 »
|Trade Deadline: Phillies continue to sell, deal Hunter Pence to Giants||07.31.12 at 2:50 pm ET|
Hunter Pence was traded to the Giants on Tuesday, becoming the second Phillies outfielder to be dealt to the NL West on the same day. Philadelphia had already sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
Pence is batting .271 with 17 home runs with the Phillies this season, a number that would lead the power-starved Giants. The 29-year-old two-time All-Star was acquired by the Phillies at the trade deadline last season from the Astros.
The Giants dealt outfielder Nate Schierholtz, minor league catcher Tommy Joseph and minor league pitcher Seth Rosin in exchange for Pence.
Schierholtz, who is batting .257 with five home runs this season, has spent all six years in the majors with the Giants.
With Carlos Ruiz turning 34 this offseason, Joseph could be the catcher of the future for the Phillies. The 21-year-old is batting .260 with eight home runs in 80 games this season with Double-A Richmond. The Giants selected Joseph in the second round of the 2009 draft.
Rosin, 23, is 2-1 with a 4.31 ERA in 34 games with High-A San Jose this season. The former fourth-round pick made has made five starts in those 34 appearances.
The Giants, who are tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West, are using the acquisition of Pence to keep pace with a very active Los Angeles front office at the trade deadline.
In what could be the beginning of a busy selling day for the Phillies, Philadelphia dealt Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for relief pitcher Josh Lindblom and minor league pitcher Ethan Martin.
Victorino, a two-time All-Star center fielder, is batting .261 with nine home runs, 40 RBIs and 24 steals this season for the last-place Phillies. The 31-year-old has been a big part of Philadelphia’s five consecutive NL East titles and the 2008 World Series title.
He will now join the Dodgers, who are trying to edge out the first-place spot in the NL West over the Giants and Diamondbacks. Los Angeles’ outfield also includes Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who both also are two-time All-Stars.
Martin, the prospect sent to Philadelphia in the deal, was the team’s 2008 first-round pick (15th overall). The right-hander is 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 20 starts with Double-A Chattanooga this season. Lindblom has been a solid relief option for the Dodgers this season, going 2-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 48 relief appearances this season.
Under baseball’s new labor contract, the Dodgers will not receive a compensatory draft selection should Victorino decide to sign somewhere else this offseason.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Phillies matchups: Jon Lester vs. Joe Blanton||05.19.12 at 7:37 am ET|
Jon Lester (3-5) is coming off his best performance of the season, a complete game, one-run win against the Mariners at Fenway. The performance, which gave Lester just his second win in eight starts, dropped his ERA (3.71) below 4.00 for the first time since early April and marked his first start without allowing a walk.
He’ll have a good opportunity to repeat the feat when he takes the mound Saturday night in Philadelphia, as, through Thursday, only the lowly Pirates have drawn fewer walks than the Phillies. Overall, Philadelphia enters the weekend series ranked slightly below league average in nearly every offensive category, including runs (17th), on-base percentage (19th) and slugging percentage (16th).
Against Lester, Philly’s numbers are even worse. Only four of the 11 Phillies he’s faced have ever had a hit off of him. Collectively, Philadelphia is hitting just .188 against the big lefty.
Joe Blanton (4-3) will be taking the mound for the Phillies. After losing almost all of 2011 to elbow troubles, Blanton is off to the best season of his career, posting an elite 35:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 48 innings and a 2.96 ERA.
The Red Sox however, have hit Blanton well in the past. The 11 Sox players who have faced him are batting .287 with a .341 on-base percentage and eight home runs.
Last season the Sox lost two of the three games against Philadelphia. Overall, Boston is 28-18 against the Phillies since 1997, including 15-11 in Philadelphia.
|Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon in spotlight after comments about Red Sox||05.18.12 at 11:05 am ET|
With the Red Sox set to open a three-game interleague series in Philadelphia Friday night, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has been placed in the spotlight after some comments he made to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford earlier in the week.
Beyond repeatedly referring to himself in the third person — both as “Pap” and his alter ego on the mound, “Cinco Ocho” — the former Sox closer raised eyebrows with his criticism of the Red Sox training staff.
“I know myself better than anybody. I know myself better than any trainer in Boston, [who] tried to tell me that they knew me better. … The previous trainer tried to tell me that he knew everything about me. It’s just not the case. I know myself. I knew how to get through a 162-game season. A trainer doesn’t know how to do that.”
Papelbon attributed his decision to leave Boston in part due issues with the training staff, but said former manager Terry Francona’s departure weighed heaviest.
“A huge light bulb went off in my head,” Papelbon said of his feeling when Francona’s fate was determined. “I wouldn’t say that was it, but it was about 99.9 percent [sure of not returning]. Yeah, I was shocked.”
Asked whether embattled starter Josh Beckett was a leader among the Sox pitchers, Papelbon didn’t mince words. “Yeah.” Papelbon said. “[Expletive] yeah.”
Finally, as to whether or not he feels he made the right decision to leave, Papelbon answered, “if you tell me I can look into a crystal ball, and that I can tell you these people are going to be here and these people are going to be there and I can see what I’ve got here,” he said, “I leave.”
|Hot Stove: Phillies reportedly in ‘serious pursuit’ of Michael Cuddyer||11.05.11 at 9:06 am ET|
According to CSNPhilly.com, the Phillies are in “serious pursuit” of a player who would seem a good fit for the Red Sox. Michael Cuddyer, a 32-year-old who made his first All-Star team in a 2011 season in which he hit .284 with a .346 OBP, .459 slugging mark, .805 OPS and 20 homers in 139 games, represents a versatile right-handed hitter who can contribute at a number of positions.
In his career, though primarily a right-fielder and first baseman in recent seasons, Cuddyer has played every position except for catcher and shortstop. He also delivers a significant amount of thump against left-handed pitchers. Cuddyer pounded southpaws at a .311/.403/.589/.993 clip with 10 homers in 2011; in his career, he is a .290/.378/.491/.869 hitter against left-handers.
Sox GM Ben Cherington has identified a right-handed hitting outfielder as offseason priority for the Sox this winter, and Cuddyer would appear to fit that bill. However, Cuddyer — who completed a four-year, $33.5 million contract with the Twins this year while earning $10.5 million — is a Type A free agent, meaning that the team that signs him might have to forfeit a top draft pick to the Twins as compensation for his acquisition.
|John Kruk on M&M: Playing in Boston should bring Erik Bedard to another level||08.02.11 at 3:27 pm ET|
ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk joined Mut & Merloni Tuesday afternoon to discuss the winners and losers of the trade deadline and determine which team has the upper hand in the home stretch of the regular season. To hear the full conversation, check out the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
The Red Sox made a last-second deal for starting pitcher Erik Bedard on July 31, hoping to fill the void left by Clay Buchholz‘ season-ending stress fracture. While more than a few critics have questioned Bedard’s ability to perform on a stage like Fenway Park (he’s 2-3 with a 6.99 lifetime ERA in Boston), Kruk endorsed the trade, and said Bedard should relish the chance to play for a contender.
“Maybe [playing in Boston] is what he needs,” Kruk said. “He’s never had to do it. Maybe this is what he needs. Maybe this is something that will get him going. Look, if you can’t go to Boston and get up to play games, if you can’t go to New York and get up to play games, knowing you’re going to have a chance every night to win … You have to remember the situations he’s been in. Awful. Baltimore, awful. Seattle, awful. He has a chance now to be on a team where if anyone has any sort of heart or any sort of determination at all, he dials it up a notch knowing he has a chance to get a ring and pitch in the World Series. If anyone can’t do that, they shouldn’t play.
“I think with Buchholz possibly being out for the season, they had to have an arm and [Bedard] wasn’t pitching bad for Seattle,” he added. “I know it’s not a great hitters division and Seattle is a pretty good place to pitch, bigger ballpark, but I still like the move. I understand his numbers at Fenway aren’t great. They’re awful. But he’s not pitching against [the Red Sox], he’s pitching against the opponent. So that’s a good thing for him too. Sometimes these under-the-radar-type deals where you don’t give up a whole lot, you take a shot and see what happens. He might come in and be a dominant pitcher like he was a few years ago.”
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