The attorneys for first basemen Ryan Zimmerman of the Nationals and Ryan Howard of the Phillies have sent letters to Al Jazeera demanding that the news agency publicly retract its report suggesting that the two players have used banned PEDs, Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post reports. The spark for the demand appears to have been a correction to the article accompanying the documentary at the Al Jazeera web site, in which editors noted: “An earlier version of this article reported on an allegation about possible links between Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard and human growth hormone. The substance alleged was Delta 2, not HGH.”
MLBTR has obtained a copy of the demand for retraction, which states: “Tuesday, Al Jazeera tried sneaking out a correction which acknowledges major errors in their story about our clients Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard. The original defamatory ’report’ connected our clients to the use of HGH, but Al Jazeera has now admitted this defamatory accusation was wholly false and unsubstantiated. Al Jazeera’s acknowledgment confirms their unforgivable sloppiness and the recklessness of its publication of this false story. Al Jazeera must retract the remaining false allegations against our clients immediately.” As Svrluga notes, such a demand letter can be a prerequisite to bringing suit for defamation in some jurisdictions.
Here are some notes from around the NL East:
- The Marlins tried to acquire ace closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds before he was shipped off to the Yankees, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. But Miami was obviously unwilling to beat the offer put forth by New York. Still, it’s interesting to learn of the effort. Despite dabbling in some rather significant potential transactions, the Fish have yet to pull off any major moves this winter.
- Daniel Murphy turned down a four-year offer because he preferred the Nationals’ chances at contention, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports. It’s not clear, of course, precisely what difference in the overall dollar amounts would have been involved.
- Signing Murphy and Stephen Drew — to go with the flurry of bullpen additions earlier this winter — doesn’t necessarily wrap up the Nationals’ offseason business, of course. Wagner explains that the team is still considering changes in the pitching department. The team “has interest” in free agent lefty Scott Kazmir, per the report. Washington could consider looking for a good market opportunity, says Wagner, but the team would likely deal another starter (he suggests Gio Gonzalez) to address another need if a rotation piece is added. And, of course, the club is still listening and considering its options at the back of the bullpen.
- The Nationals have also long been said to be pursuing an addition in the outfield, particularly one capable of spending time in center. I ran through some of the many options back in November, and Wagner takes an updated look in the above-linked piece. As he explains, though, none of the obviously available options makes for a perfect fit. It’s no surprise to hear that the team is “working” to add such a piece after the Murphy signing, as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports recently tweeted.
- Having already added a center field-capable player of their own in Alejandro De Aza, the Mets won’t be present when Denard Span works out for teams, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports on Twitter. That is not terribly surprising to learn at this point, of course. It’s worth noting, also, that Wagner’s report includes a note that, while the Nationals haven’t ruled out a return, there is some internal concern over Span’s health.