MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 12/14


This week’s questions and discussion…

1) Rafael Palmeiro, who is 53 years old, wants to try to make a MLB comeback. He recently told sports reporter Ken Rosenthal, “There’s no doubt in my mind I can do it. I’ve taken care of myself really well. I’ve been working out for years. Everything feels better than when I played.” 

Palmeiro, who is one of four players in history with 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, was essentially tossed out of the game after serving a 10-game PED suspension in 2005. 

Palmeiro tested positive for stanozolol, failed in his appeal of the results, and was suspended for 10 games. Palmeiro claimed he took a tainted vitamin that resulted in his suspension for PEDs. When he returned after serving his suspension, the Orioles asked Palmeiro to go home and he never played again. 

What is your opinion of Palmeiro’s decision to attempt a return to MLB?

Joe: This is essentially the only thing you need to understand about Palmeiro…

Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and, while under oath, denied ever using steroids

On March 17, 2005, Palmeiro appeared at a Congressional hearing about steroids in baseball and, while under oath, denied ever using steroids by pointedly… literally with his finger and figuratively… saying, “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”

Then on August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for ten days after testing positive the above named steroid… stanozolol.

His answer to repeated questions from the press was, “I have never intentionally used steroids. Never. Ever. Period. Ultimately, although I never intentionally put a banned substance into my body, the independent arbitrator ruled that I had to be suspended under the terms of the program.”

Rafael Palmeiro

My answer to him is the same as the same as what the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and almost all other international, and many national, sports bodies and organizations when it comes to who is responsible for how drugs enter your body… “You are responsible for what goes into your body.”

Ultimately, that is the final and very stringent criteria.

When WADA finds compelling evidence an athlete ingested a forbidden drug and it gives out a suspension and an athlete then appeals… even if there is strong evidence he, or she, did use an OTC supplement that was tainted…  they almost always without fail will sustain the suspension because of the aforementioned “rule.” The logic is that as an athlete connected with trainers, doctors and other medical personnel, it is your responsibility to go to them and verify the OTC  supplement or drug is OK to use. If you fail to do that; you are responsible, regardless of almost any other extenuating circumstance, for using an “illegal drug.”

End of story.

As for Palmeiro coming back to MLB… let him go back to who he played for in 2015… the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. That is, if they even still exist.

Steve: Is this some kind of joke?

This is absolutely ridiculous. No way in hell should Palmeiro be thinking about coming back to baseball. He will always be remembered for the guy who pointed his finger at Congress saying that he never took steroids… period. Then was caught taking them.

Rafael Palmeiro has no business anywhere near a baseball diamond. Put him in the independent league if he wants to play, let someone sell some tickets, and move on from this.

2) The Red Sox finished last in the American League in homers for the first time since 1993. Any way you look at the situation, the team misses David Ortiz and needs a big bopper.

In your opinion who, or what (trade, free agency, etc…) is their best option to fill this hole in their lineup? 

On September 4, 2017, J.D. Martinez hits 4 home runs: in a game & ties the MLB record.

Joe: Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski has said free agency is the “ideal way” to get the hitter the Sox need. He also has said the Sox need to restock their minor leagues  after a series of trades sort of depleted their prospect talent over the past two years.Therefore I don’t seethe Sox making any trades to get some like Kyle Schwarber from the Cubs.

J.D. Martinez is a non-tendered free agent and therefore would cost only money, not even a draft pick as compensation. I think they go after him first.

Then, I think they go after Eric Hosmer… and I think they go after Hosmer whether they sign Martinez or not. Hosmer isn’t exactly a big HR slugger but has decent power (25 in 2016 and 2017) and would provide very good defense at first as well as being a good influence in the clubhouse.

Steve: If they can get him without giving up too much, Andrew McCutchen would be a great asset to Boston. He and Mookie Betts can platoon in centerfield, and McCutchen can really play any outfield position.

He could add some pop to the offense for the Sox, as Fenway is a hitter friendly park.

3) Last Thursday, NYDN sportswriter Bill Madden wrote, “I have two very simple Hall of Fame criteria: The first is the “see” test. In watching a player for 10 or more years, did I say to myself: ‘I’m looking at a Hall of Famer’? The second criteria is almost as simple: Did this man dominate the game at his position?” 

Of course, his article includes a lot more than just these two points, especially his opinion and criticism of many voters using WAR as a criterion to justify a HOF vote. He ends his column with… “It ain’t that hard, folks. If you have to really think about a candidate and make a case for him, he probably isn’t a Hall of Famer.”  

(You can read his entire article here: 

What is your opinion of Madden’s opinion on HOF voting?

Bill Madden in 2010 as he received J.G. Taylor Spink Award for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing” at the annual National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Joe: I kind of agree with Madden for the most part.

The player has to look like a star…  that is, when he comes to bat does he produce, or if he is a pitcher, does he pitch like he can dominate hitters? AND, does he produce in moments that really count, or in key moments or pressure moments?

I also always look at what calls Black Ink… does a player lead his league in various categories? And, how often. If not actually lead; is he consistently in the top five?

And finally, was he considered good enough to win any awards or at least consistently be in the top two or three when awards time came around?

Steve: He is one of hundreds of voters who have certain criteria.

I have always been one to believe, that the eye test is huge. However, I don’t think he has to dominate his position. If, he is consistently one of the best players in the game for several years, then I think said player is deserving of some Hall of Fame talk. I take the overall numbers seriously, and they would have to be the best in baseball, or at least, one of the best in baseball year in and year out. If, I can say that, then I can say put them in.

4) Okay, it’s the question that begs the panel to express their opinion… 

The Yankees traded for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and his ginormous contract… dependent upon his passing a physical and OKing the trade…

What is your opinion of the trade?

Giancarlo Stanton joins Yankees

Joe: As a Yankee fan I have some misgivings about Stanton… (1) he does have a history of not always playing a full season and (2) that damn contract is so freaking long.

Having said that… I kind of like the deal, in so far as what it immediately does to the Yanks’ batting order/lineup… two through five could be awesome… Didi Gregorious, shortstop (.287/.318/.478 with 25 HR and 87 RBI);  Giancarlo Stanton, DH or right field (.281/.360/.550 with 59 HR and 132 RBI); Aaron Judge, DH or right field (.284/.422/.627 with 52 HR and 124 RBI;  Gary Sanchez, catcher (.283/..353/.567 33 HR and 90 RBI); And Greg Bird, first base… his numbers don’t look great from 2017 because he was limited in his playing time due to injuries, but believe me, with his left hand bat and that short porch at the Stadium, he will do some damage.

Steve: I posted on my Twitter page @StephanHall, that the Evil Empire is back.

This is borderline scary as far as offensive output goes. Two guys who hit 112 home runs last year probably hitting back to back? Someone referred to this as the modern day Maris/Mantle. The only problem is that Judge strikeouts a lot.

They probably are going to be favorites, for certain in the East, and they are going to be one of the best in all of baseball again.

The pitching rotation does still need to be addressed, as sure they can put up 7 or 8 runs a game, but until they get to their bullpen, they can be involved in shootouts.

5) Manny Machado, who is still only 25, hit .259/.310/.471 (107 OPS+) with 33 home runs in 2017, though that was broken down into .230/.296/.445 in the first half and .290/.326/.500 in the second half. He remains a premier player (probably top five) and a standout defender. If, the Orioles do not work out a contract with him before season’s end, he will be a free agent.

 A) Should the Orioles seriously consider trading him for a boatload of prospects and/or players?

B) If, the Orioles are seriously open to trading him, should they try to pull the trigger now during the offseason or wait until the trade deadline and cross their fingers he stays healthy/has a decent, if not great, first half? 

Manny on the trading block?

Joe: To the first part… YES! They certainty should trade him for a boatload of prospects and totally reload their game plan going forward.

As for the second part… it all depends on what you can get for  him right now. If no one overwhelms you, then it would be better to wait until the trade deadline and believe it.. some team in contention will overwhelm you for Machado as long as he ain’t hurt or in a season long slump. Even then, the guy is just too good a defender and that bat will eventually come around.

Steve: As to section A: This all depends on the direction that the Orioles want to go. At just 25 years old, you can still build a solid foundation around Manny Machado, and be able to compete for several years to come.

However, with the Yankees making some crazy moves so far this off season, you just never know what they want to do. I think I would absolutely listen to some of the offers that may come there way, and if the right deal comes there way, then you could go the complete rebuild and try to start over.

Personally, I rebuild around Machado, but if I was an Orioles fan, I could understand a rebuild considering this division.

Section B: I think you can get the most value for him at the trade deadline, you may get some teams that need a premier player to help bolster their lineup, and make a serious run at at championship. I don’t know if you get the same kind of value for him in the off season.

Extra innings…

On this day in 1985…

After a two-year battle with lymphatic cancer, Roger Maris, the player who hit 61 HRs in 1961 to break Babe Ruth’s then MLB record for HRs in a season, dies in a Houston hospital at the age of 51.

Former Yankees teammates Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, John Blanchard, and Bill Skowron along with Whitey Herzog and Bob Allison will as serve pallbearers.

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