Mitchell Report

December 13, 2007

The Mitchell Report has officially been released. Reportedly 5-7 percent of Major Leaguers were juicing in 2003, the report said, and numerous big names have been released. I’ll start with former Pirates on the list, as this is a Pittsburgh based blog and there are a few ex-Bucco’s on the list:

  • Josias Manzinillo – We’ll start with probably my favorite name on this list, just because Josias is easily the most entertaining terrible ball-player I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. The dude was a nut, and I loved every minute of it. Josias is first accused of having used performance-enhancing substances in 1994 while he was with the Mets, and supposedly was he one of Kirk Radomski’s most consistent customers. Odds are, Josias was juicing through his entire career, including his time in Pittsburgh.
  • Kevin Young – This was an intriguing name from my standpoint. One of the main reasons the Pirates move to PNC Park wasn’t coupled by a resurrection of the franchise was Young’s sudden drop in production after the signing of a long-term deal. When I first saw this name, I assumed that Young had juiced before making the big bucks, then decided to back-off. However, the report says Young first inquired about performance enhancing drugs in 2001 in an attempt to resurrect his career. Looks like Young’s early success really was just a fluke.
  • Denny Neagle – Neagle approached Radomski in 2000 inquiring about H.G.H., and according to Radomski, Neagle was already familiar with the drug. Odds are, Neagle was juicing for at least some of his time with the Buccos from 1992-1996.
  • Ron Villone – Evidently he got on the juice on Neagle’s recommendation. Villone only spent one year in Pittsburgh, and despite probably being juiced up, he won just four games and posted a 5.81 ERA…thanks Ron.
  • Jason Christiansen – Proof that juicing doesn’t make you a good ballplayer.
  • Benito Santiago – The guy played for like, 40 years. You knew he had to be getting some kind of help.

And now to the big boys:

  • Barry Bonds – Bonds’s name is mentioned, but we’re not really told anything we don’t know. To be honest, the evidence against Bonds is weaker than I may have thought though. See page 128 of the report for more. I provided a link to the report at the beginning of the article.
  • Roger Clemens – Guilty. I have more to say on Clemens’s use, expect a separate post in the next day or two devoted solely to Clemens.
  • Andy Petitte – Also guilty, although his use appears to have been strictly for rehabilitation purposes.
  • Paul Lo Duca – Lo Duca is an interesting case. When the Dodgers entered trade discussions with the Marlins in 2003, Lo Duca’s production was down, evidentally because he had gotten of the ‘roids. The following is from notes by Dodgers personnel discussing Lo Duca:

“Steroids aren’t being used anymore on him. Big part of this. Might have some value to trade . . . Florida might have interest. . . Got off the steroids . . . Took away a lot of hard line drives. . . Can get comparable value back would consider trading. . . . If you do trade him, will get back on the stuff and try to show you he can have a good year. That’s his makeup. Comes to play. Last year of contract, playing for 05.”

  • Eric Gagne – The name that really jumped out at me from this report. This guy was more dominant when he was at his best than any closer we’ve ever seen…and he was juicing. Lo Duca was the middleman between Gagne and Radomski, apparently placing his orders for him. There is undeniable evidence that Gagne juiced while in LA, including postage from a shipment marked for Gagne from Radomski post-marked on August 7, 2004 (my birthday, by the way, not that that actually matters). Also, it appears that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein knew that Gagne was a juicer when he brought him to Boston this summer. Said scout Mark Depiano about Gagne in response to Epstein’s questioning about the closer’s past:

“Some digging on Gagne and steroids IS the issue. Has had a checkered medical past throughout career including minor leagues. Lacks the poise and commitment to stay healthy, maintain body and re invent self. What made him a tenacious closer was the max effort plus stuff . . . Mentality without the plus weapons and without steroid help probably creates a large risk in bounce back durability and ability to throw average while allowing the change- up to play as it once did . . . Personally, durability (or lack of) will follow Gagne . .”

  • Kevin Brown – Also recommended by Lo Duca while in LA, Brown evidently approached Radomski after DL stints in 2001. Brown was smart enough to send cash and not use checks, although there are labels from packages sent by Radomski to Brown.
  • John Rocker – lmao…all I have to say here.
  • Mo Vaughn – *see John Rocker response
  • Glenallen Hill – *see Rocker and Vaughn responses
  • Miguel Tejada – Is anybody really surprised by this one? He was tight with the Giambi brothers and the self-appointed steroid godfather Jose Canseco, and he has also been accused by Raphael Palmeiro. It does make us wonder if there was any truth to Palmeiro’s claim that he only juiced in ’05 on Tejada’s recommendation, believing it to be Vitamin B-12. I’m still pretty sure Palmeiro used throughout his career though.

Other names as note: Larry Bigbie, David Segui, Brian Roberts, Jack Cust, Todd Hundley, Rondell White, Chuck Knoblauch, Greg Zaun, David Justice, Mike Stanton, Jerry Hairston Jr., Fernando Vina (interestingly hasn’t appeared on ESPN since the report was released, even though every analyst and their mother has already given their opinion)

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Marlins Deal Cabrera, Willis to Detroit

December 6, 2007

Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle Willis and his trademark leg kick will head to Detroit looking to return to 2005 form, when Willis won 22 games while posting a microscopic 2.63 ERA

The Florida Marlins, baseballs perennial fire-salers, have agreed to send 24-year old stud Miguel Cabrera and 25-year old fan favorite Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers in exchange for a plethora of talent. We can all agree that there isn’t a prospect alive that we wouldn’t send for Cabrera, but many believe that Willis could be a major bust.

Although many in the baseball world are pointing to Willis’s quickly declining numbers (note the yearly increase in ERA, WHIP, and HR along with decreases in W, CG, SHO, IP, and SO since 2005), I think there is reason to believe that we may see at least a brief resurgence in Dontrelle’s career.

It’s no secret that Dontrelle’s early success was tied to his funky delivery, which confused a lot of hitters. Scouts claim that the high leg kick and inconsistent arm slot were effectively deceptive early in his career, helping him post Cy Young-like numbers despite having just above average stuff. However, scouts are saying now that National League hitters have seen him for five years, they have figured him out, thus the declining numbers. Also, mechanical issues are making Dontrelle’s control and his stuff fairly inconsistent, although I doubt his stuff has gotten that much worse since ’05.

Moving to the American League might be an okay move for Willis, at least for a while. With catcher Ivan Rodriguez calling the game for him, Willis could very well make a strong comeback this year while American League hitters try to figure him out. Granted, hitters have scouting reports built already, which means it won’t take five years for guys to get around his deceptive delivery, but there is reason to believe Willis could be successful, especially with a monstrous line-up behind him.

As for the Fish, there’s reason to be excited about the crop of players that have been brought in. Cameron Maybin is an absolute stud talent-wise, and has the potential to be a top-notch, five-tool player in the near future. The real gem of this trade, however, is 6-foot-6 pitcher Andrew Miller. Though still decidedly raw, Miller has the potential to be a top of the rotation guy. His mid-90’s, ¾ fastball comes with a heavy sink, allowing him to induce an abundance of ground balls. He needs work on establishing some secondary stuff, but as ESPN’s Eric Karabell says, he might already be a better value pitcher than Willis.