Category Archives: MLB

Josh Hamilton Could Be Suspended for Entire Season, Arbitrator Will Make Final Decision

Josh Hamilton’s status for the 2015 baseball season remains in limbo. Last week, news began to emerge that former MVP was in New York meeting with baseball officials over a substance abuse relapse, reportedly involving alcohol and cocaine. MLB has since formed a four-man panel — two attorneys, two physicians (one of each provided by MLB and the Player’s Association) — to decide on what sort of discipline the outfielder should face and if rehab should be included in said treatment. According to the Los Angeles Times, the panel is deadlocked on what to do, meaning an arbitrator will ultimately make the final decision.

The Times also reports that Hamilton, who’s had numerous issues with substance abuse during his career, could face up to a year’s suspension due to previous violations while in the minor leagues with Tampa last decade.

Hamilton is known to have failed at least six drug tests as a Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer, and he was suspended from baseball from 2004 to 2006. It is unclear how many of his minor league offenses came when he was listed on the Rays’ 40-man roster. MLB officials are considering whether to classify him as a fourth-time offender of its drug policy, the person with knowledge of the discussions said.

Violators face a range of penalties, starting at 15 to 25 games for a first offense, 25 to 50 games for a second offense, 50 to 75 games for a third offense and at least one full season for a fourth offense. Commissioner Rob Manfred would have the final say on the length of a suspension.

There is a lot of money on the table, too, depending which way the ruling goes.

Hamilton is scheduled to make $25 million this season. He is in the third year of a five-year, $125-million deal with the Angels. If he is sent into a rehabilitation program, he would be owed his full salary for 30 days, then half his salary for the next 30 days — a total of $6.2 million. If he is suspended and not in treatment, he would not be paid. However, it is unclear whether the Angelswould have to pay Hamilton at all if he previously entered a rehabilitation program that lasted at least 60 days.

How this plays out is going to be one of the first real tests for new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Suspending Hamilton but not allowing him to enter treatment is quite punitive. Same thing goes for suspending him for an entire season and keeping him away from the game.

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Josh Hamilton Had Relapse Involving “At Least Cocaine” Per Report

Reports earlier today indicated Josh Hamilton was facing MLB discipline for something “worse” than PEDs. According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Hamilton suffered a relapse involving at least cocaine.

Per Heyman, Hamilton did not fail a drug test. He admitted the relapse to MLB. He would enter MLB’s drug treatment program as a first-time offender.

Hamilton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, missed multiple seasons battling drug addiction while a prospect in the Rays’ farm system. He was already expected to miss the first six to eight weeks of the season recovering from shoulder surgery.

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MLB 2015 Over/Unders: Vegas Likes the Nationals and Red Sox

Behold the 2015 baseball win totals from Bovada that were released earlier this week. If the odds-makers at Bovada know anything, 15 teams are projected to finish within 3½ games of .500. 

Let’s take a division-by-division look, as well as looking at some of the players who will produce the most points in FanDuel’s fantasy baseball scoring. Remember last year the Vegas over/unders foresaw the Royals finishing around .500 and didn’t predict the Red Sox miserable year or the Angels surprise 98-win campaign.

American League East
  • Boston Red Sox 86½
  • Baltimore Orioles 82½
  • Toronto Blue Jays 82½
  • New York Yankees 81½
  • Tampa Bay Rays 78½

Overvalued: Boston Red Sox –  the Sox acquired plenty of talent, namely Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, along with a bunch of groundball pitchers to eat up innings. Boston won 71 games last year after cashing in its chips after the All Star Break. Now the entire baseball world expects this new-look team to immediately rise right back to the top. Call me cautiously skeptical about the Red Sox, even in the wide-open American League East.

Undervalued: Toronto Blue Jays – If you put stock in wins above replacement (WAR), the Jays made two great acquisitions in Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin. Toronto won 83 games last year without either player, although it’s hard not to recall 2013 when the Jays added Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey but floundered out of the gates. Toronto’s pitching is still suspect, but that lineup is going to mash the ball out of SkyDome.

ALCS - Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals - Game Four

American League Central
  • Detroit Tigers 84½
  • Cleveland Indians 83½
  • Chicago White Sox 81½
  • Kansas City Royals 79½
  • Minnesota Twins 70½

Overvalued: Detroit Tigers – There are red flags popping up all over the Max Scherzer-less Tigers, namely the health of Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera, saying nothing of a fetid bullpen situation and Justin Verlander’s regression to a $25 million fourth starter. Perhaps the Tigers hit April with minimal expectations and surprise, but without starting pitching to lean back on this could be a catastrophe.

Undervalued: Minnesota — Let’s call this a mild undervalue, but the Twins lineup is surprisingly decent and if any of the club’s prospects, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, ever get going a slight improvement is possible. Ervin Santana might not be a headline acquisition, but does help improve the rotation, in earnest. Cleveland, too, could touch on 85+ wins if its offense improves and sterling starting pitching doesn’t regress.

American League West
  • Los Angeles Angels 89½
  • Seattle Mariners 86½
  • Oakland Athletics 80½
  • Texas Rangers 77½
  • Houston Astros 74½

Overvalued: Los Angeles Angels — The Halos didn’t do much to change last year’s 98-game winners, unless you consider trading Howie Kendrick to the Dodgers and getting Matt Joyce from the Rays significant. Their best pitcher, Garrett Richards, came out of nowhere last season and became a four-win player before tearing up his knee. Houston and Seattle are improved, which could cut into the Halos win totals, saying nothing of the status of fading outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Undervalued: Houston Astros — To borrow an old line from Jake Taylor the 2015 Astros are almost a real team, “with uniforms and everything.” This year the Astros have a full season of George Springer and they’ve improved the bullpen — an area bad teams lose games — with the additions of Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Houston won 70 last season and a five-game improvement this year isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

Bryce Harper home run against Giants

National League East
  • Washington Nationals 92½
  • Miami Marlins 81½
  • New York Mets 81½
  • Atlanta Braves 73½
  • Philadelphia Phillies 68½

Overvalued: Miami Marlins— Yes, the Marlins grabbed positive headlines for a change, extending Giancarlo Stanton and adding a couple other pieces like Mike Morse, Dee Gordon and Mat Latos … but … the starting rotation, pending Jose Fernandez’s return sometime in late June still underwhelms.

Undervalued: New York Mets — If you weren’t paying attention the Mets won 79 games last year and they get Matt Harvey back into the rotation. Tread lightly, as always, with the Metropolitans.

National League Central
  • St. Louis Cardinals 88½
  • Pittsburgh Pirates 83½
  • Chicago Cubs 82½
  • Milwaukee Brewers 78½
  • Cincinnati Reds 77½

Overvalued: Chicago Cubs – Yes they have Joe Maddon, Anthony Rizzo is a nice young slugger, and Jon Lester brings a playoff mentality to the clubhouse, but we are talking about the Cubs! Until I see it, I have my doubts.

Undervalued: Pittsburgh — Maybe? The Pirates hailing within 90 wins means the Cubs aren’t quite as good as expected or the Red or Brewers backslide even further.

National League West
  • Los Angeles Dodgers 92½
  • San Diego Padres 85½
  • San Francisco Giants 84½
  • Arizona Diamondbacks 71½
  • Colorado Rockies 71½

Overvalued: Los Angeles — What we know is the Dodgers new braintrust made a ton of moves in December. What we don’t know is how much better the team will be after losing  marquee players like Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp. Finishing with 92½ wins wouldn’t be much of a drop-off from last season’s 94-win total. There’s just so much uncertainty that expecting 90+ win is a lot, regardless of the team’s $200+ million payroll. The saving grace? 19 games apiece vs. Arizona and Colorado and some guy named Clayton Kershaw every fifth day.

Undervalued: None

FIVE BEST BETS
  • Toronto over 82½
  • Washington over 92½
  • San Diego under 85½
  • Marlins under 81.5
  • Dodgers under 92.5
  • Angels under 89.5
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Alex Rodriguez Issues Handwritten Apology to Fans for Role in Biogenesis PED Scandal

It’s a slow media day in February , so that makes it a perfect time for everyone’s most hated athlete aka Alex Rodriguez to issue a formal apology to baseball fans across the globe for his “mistakes” that resulted in a year-long suspension in 2014.

ARod slide

This letter, which was obtained by SportsCenter and released on Twitter, A-Rod expresses remorse and regret for what happened, via Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com:

I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season. I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I’m sorry.

I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.

Rodriguez says in the letter that a lot of fans aren’t going to believe anything he says anymore, but this is all he can do to try to quiet the firestorm before spring training begins for the Yankees on Friday.

It’s also not the first time Rodriguez has apologized for his role in a scandal, apologizing in 2009 for use of banned substances:

Good luck to the New York tabloids, who’ll have 12+ hours to cook up a witty, timeless, pun-filled headline for their front and back pages for Wedensday’s editions.

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Bryce Harper Paid A Nice Tribute to Jerry Tarkanian

Bryce Harper took to social media to pay tribute to the late Jerry Tarkanian. The former UNLV coach passed away at age 84 on Wednesday . So the Washington Nationals star outfielder and Las Vegas native, visited to the Thomas & Mack Center wearing a jacket with the names of the starters (along with Tarkanian’s) from the 1990 UNLV team which beat Duke for the NCAA Championship.

Harper’s tributes on Instagram just shows the massive impact Tarkanian left on the Las Vegas sports scene.

[via DC Sports Bog]

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88-Year-Old Badass Charges The Mound At Rockies Fantasy Baseball Camp [Video]

Old guy not charging the mound despite what Stephen says

Lew Dunlop is an 88-year old who attended the Colorado Rockies fantasy camp. While I doubt he is a lifelong Rockies fan, you can’t question that he’s an old school badass. During a fantasy camp game, Lew was crowding the plate so the pitcher threw a high hard one, just to let him know that he owns the inside of the plate. Lew disagreed and started walking to the mound for a polite discussion about how they did things in his day. Unfortunately, the catcher and umpire held him back before we could find out what was going to happen next.

After the hard-fought game he celebrated by poppin’ bottles and taking a champagne shower.

[SBN]

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Nationals’ Bryce Harper’s ‘Happy Gilmore’ Golf Drive Flies 340 Yards [Video]

340 yards! Why not? What’s up Happy Gilmore #leftygolf @aaronkurcz @chasenshreve61 @bryanharper45 @sportscenter

A video posted by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

 Washington Nationals slugger Bryce Harper makes a living crushing homeruns. So there’s no reason to think why the young star couldn’t blast a golf ball .

The 22-year-old outfielder posted the video above on Instagram of him using a Happy Gilmore approach to driving off the tee.

The result? A 340-yard drive. 

Aftermath of the video in my last post..340 yards! Why not? What’s up Happy Gilmore #leftygolf A photo posted by Bryce Harper (@bharper3407) on

[Instagram, h/t For The Win]

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