Steve Johnson Rumors
Yesterday, the Associated Press reported MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred testified, during the Alex Rodriguez arbitration hearing, baseball did not concern itself if Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch distributed illegal substances to minors and was only interested in possible criminal activity involving players. Today, Manfred called the report "ridiculous" telling Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his testimony was "totally out of context and mischaracterized" and accused the A-Rod camp of leaking the story. "The larger point is this: From our perspective, one of the reasons we pursue cases like the A-Rod case is we think players should be role models for kids," Manfred explained to Haudricourt. "It's almost comical that A-Rod, who already has admitted in the past he used steroids, would express an opinion on our stance on children and PEDs." The hearing will resume next month. In other news and notes from the American League:
- Mike Napoli's strong postseason is further proof his avascular necrosis is not an issue as he enters free agency for the second time, reports MLB.com's Lindsay Berra. Napoli was frustrated by having to settle for a one-year, $5MM deal (incentives pushed the eventual value to $13MM) after a three-year, $39MM contract was scrapped because of the AVN diagnosis. "I waited seven years for free agency and then got an opportunity, and it got taken away because of something I didn't even know I had and had never had any pain from," said Napoli. "I'm a little more confident about negotiating a contract now that I've shown all year that my hips aren't an issue, but I'm sure I'm going to have to go through all the steps again, with all the MRIs and talking to doctors."
- There are six questions the Tigers must answer this offseason, writes MLive.com's Chris Iott. Among the answers, Iott predicts Jim Leyland will return as manager, the Tigers will not re-sign Jhonny Peralta (despite his desire to remain in Detroit), but will re-sign Joaquin Benoit and Omar Infante.
- The Orioles don't have a lot of inventory to deal this winter after trading away six players in midseason acquisitions, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson head the list of tradeable players, according to Dubroff.
- Nolan Ryan left his imprint on the Rangers, especially the pitching staff, with his attitude and focus on conditioning, opines Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
- Ryan received a $10MM buyout (his ownership stake plus incentives) when he announced his retirement from the Rangers, Grant reports in separate article. However, according to Forbes, Ryan wound up losing money on his ownership investment. Ryan's original equity interest was valued at $13MM (6% ownership); but, dwindled to $7MM (1% ownership) because he declined to participate in various cash calls to cover his share of the losses the franchise incurred.
Carlos Zambrano hit and pitched the Marlins into a first place tie with the Nationals in the NL East. Zambrano hit a 431-foot home run, the longest by a pitcher in four years according to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, and struck out seven in 7 2/3 innings. Here are today's other pitcher-related links.
- The Red Sox may need to take a breather from the Daniel Bard experiment as a starter after his performance today, explains John Tomase of the Boston Herald. According to Baseball Reference, Bard became the first starting pitcher since 1918 to walk six and hit two batters in two or less innings of work.
- Roy Halladay's time on the disabled list could affect his $20MM vesting option for 2014 and make him a free agent one year earlier than expected, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
- Jorge De La Rosa was pulled from his latest rehab assignment because of a small fluid build-up in his surgically repaired left elbow, says Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. The Rockies also placed right-hander Juan Nicasio on the DL with a strained left knee.
- The Orioles have added Steve Johnson to their 40-man roster after the right-hander sought to opt out of his contract, writes Steve Melewski of MASNSports.com.
Johnson, 22, was part of the trade that sent George Sherrill to the Dodgers last July, and posted a 3.41 ERA with a 9.5 K/9 and a 3.8 BB/9 in 145.1 innings split between the two organizations in 2009. Baseball America ranked Johnson as San Francisco's 20th best prospect coming into the season, saying he profiles best as a back-end starter or middle reliever.
The 15th pick in the Rule 5 Draft walked six batters and allowed five hits in 4.2 innings this spring.