10:24pm: FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that Abad’s minor league deal with the Mets in late March was indeed axed when the Mets learned of his failed PED test shortly before the deal became official (all Twitter links). Importantly, he notes that Abad went through a lengthy appeal process that was ultimately unsuccessful. However, the beginning of his suspension is retroactive to the filing of the appeal, meaning his suspension will actually finish being served later this month.
Heyman also relays a statement from Abad in which he, like many suspended players before him, indicates that he didn’t knowingly take a banned substance.
3:50pm: Free agent left-handed reliever Fernando Abad has received an 80-game ban after testing positive for Stanozolol, the league announced.
The 32-year-old Abad was with the Phillies in Spring Training and, after being cut loose, agreed to a minor league deal with the Mets. Abad never appeared in a game with the Mets though, and his contract with the club seemed to have fallen through at some point (quite possibly due to the impending suspension). Any club that signs Abad now will do so knowing that he’ll have to sit out for 80 games upon the deal’s completion. At this point in the schedule, an 80-game suspension would put Abad out for the vast majority of the season.
Abad drew fairly limited interest this past offseason despite the fact that he turned in a solid 2017 season with the Red Sox. In 43 2/3 frames with Boston last year, he pitched to a 3.30 ERA with 7.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 0.82 HR/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate. Lefties hit just .224/.288/.348 against him, and it was his second consecutive season with an ERA well south of 4.00 in more than 40 innings of work. In fact, Abad has somewhat quietly worked to a 3.13 ERA with a 206-to-80 K/BB ratio in 233 innings from 2013-17. He worked primarily in low-leverage spots with the Red Sox last year, though, often pitching when the game was already out of hand and the team was behind.
In 317 2/3 career innings at the big league level, Abad has a 3.65 ERA with 38 holds, two saves, 7.7 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 40.7 percent ground-ball rate.