Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Think I'm Going To Be Sick

First there was the news of WSBGM's favorite Pat "the Bat" Burrell signing a 2 year $16M deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. As if that wasn't enough of a gut-punch, right on its heels was the announcement that JC Romero will be receiving a 50 game suspension to begin 2009...that's a boot to the testicles and now I think I'm going to be sick.

First off, I'd like to wish Burrell the best of luck in the AL. Hope you enjoy DH duties, because it's doubtful you see the field much from now on. Of course Manuel was readying you for that by instituting the Burrell Rule this season, in which it was mandated that you be lifted for defense post 7th inning. I'll miss Burrell, but I'm not mad that he's no longer a Phillie, I'm just mad that he went for 1 year and $15.5M less than Raul Ibanez. Ibanez is an equally bad fielder and when it all boils down is pretty much equivalent to Burrell offensively. Using OPS as the measuring stick, Burrell has a career .858 OPS with better power and on base skills than Ibanez who has a career .818 OPS with a far better batting average than Burrell and more consistency month to month. It appears Amaro jumped the gun in signing Ibanez who could have likely gone for less years and money in what is clearly a depressed marker, but that's all hindsight now and we just have to deal with it.

Now on to the much bigger issue of Romero's suspension. Apparently if he admitted guilt the punishment would have been reduced to 25 games, but as it stands now he'll be paying a hefty fine of $1.25M and 50 games (1/3 of the season). There's two ways of looking at this- from the standpoint that JC is getting royally screwed and from the viewpoint of JC came too close to the "line" and half-stepped over it and now must pay the price. Reportedly 6-OXO Extreme is the product Romero purchased from GNC.

He's Innocent:
Romero said that he bought an unnamed supplement from a GNC store in Cherry Hill, N.J., on July 22. He had it checked by his personal nutritionist and there was no warning on the label. The Players Association had told players that the supplement was acceptable. Statement from Romero- "The season is a grind. When you're a middle reliever, you have to be ready to get up and down and pitch every day. Everyone takes something. Some guys drink coffee, others supplements. We try to make sure they're all legal. I certainly did. I still cannot see where I did something wrong. There is nothing that should take away from the rings of my teammates. I didn't cheat. I tried to follow the rules. I'm innocent of what they're accusing me of. I'm not perfect. What's happening now is not fair. I'm not afraid of the truth and the truth is going to be told." Truth be told, 50 games and and a $1.25M fine is ridiculously steep. So steep in fact that it appears that he is head sheep being lead to the slaughterhouse; as he will be the first player on the 25-man roster of the 30 Major League teams to be suspended under the auspices of the Joint Drug and Prevention Policy for testing positive during the 2008 season. If he took the supplement under the false pretense that it was "safe" as told to him by the Players Association then I simply do not understand the reason for such a harsh penalty. It seems unfair that he is getting this treatment and being pegged as the scapegoat for something he did with the understanding that it was completely legal. Free JC t-shirt courtesy of The 700 Level.

He's Guilty:
At the arbitration hearing it was revealed that in early July, the Center for Drug Free Support had notified MLB of questions about the supplement Romero had purchased. Romero said that somehow, MLB and the union never quite connected on that information at the time. The bottle of the supplement MLB presented at the hearing contained the warning: "Use of this product may be banned by some athletic or government associations." Meanwhile, the bottle containing the same substance that Romero had purchased and brought to the hearing didn't offer a printed warning. On Nov. 21, the union sent a letter to the players stating, "We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S." Romero tested positive twice for use of the supplement: on Aug. 26 before a Phillies-Mets game in Philadelphia and on Sept. 19 before a game in Miami. On Sept. 23, Players Association counsel Bob Lenaghan informed Romero he had failed the initial test. "I immediately stopped taking all supplements, although I had no idea it was the cause of the positive test," Romero said. So it seems Romero doesn't deny taking something, but "something" can always end up coming back to bite you in the ass, and this time it did. He thought he was within the rules, but he was flirting with disaster and now MLB is making an example out of him for nudging over that invisible line.

*Quotes and other information pulled from Romero to be Suspended 50 Games article on

Here's a statement from MLB Players Association general counsel Michael Weiner on the 50-game suspensions for J.C. Romero:
"We strongly disagree with the commissioner's discipline and with the arbitrator's decision. Romero legally purchased nutritional supplements from national chain stores in the United States. Nothing on the labels of those supplements indicated that they contained a trace amount of a substance prohibited under Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Romero did not intentionally ingest this prohibited substance, but the arbitrator nevertheless found, wrongly in our view, that his conduct violated the Program's "no fault or negligence" standard. The union respects the arbitration process and treats the decision as final. In our view, though, the resulting discipline imposed upon Romero is unfair. Romero should not be suspended. His unknowing actions plainly are distinguishable from those of a person who intentionally used an illegal performance-enhancing substance. The association and the commissioner's Office must now act to prevent future similar occurrences within baseball. The association remains committed to a strong Joint Drug Program, but will continue to advocate forcefully for fair treatment of our members."

In my honest opinion, I believe Romero was totally screwed over and should file a lawsuit.

What will Amaro do to fill the lefty's void? Go with one lefty in the 'pen until Romero's return (Eyre being that lefty). Convert Happ to a reliever. Hope that Mike Zagurski is healthy. Trade Chris Coste or Matt Stairs for a lefty reliever. Sign one of the remaining free agents- Joe Beimel, Ron Villone, Dennys Reyes, Will Ohman, Randy Flores, or Eddie Guardado. Too bad Aaron Fultz recently signed with the Reds (although I heard he too has a suspension looming for his excessive rosin bag usage).

Major questions heading into the season- can Moyer repeat success at elderly age, Utley and Feliz's health, Ibanez's ability to stabilize the order, Myers' head, and now the Romero suspension. Looks like the Phils and Amaro have some answering to do.



Andrew said...

Marcus Giles? Eh? This year's So Taguchi? Low risk, I suppose.

GM-Carson said...

Tomorrow's post will be on the Phils determination to sign every lesser brother of MLB brother combos.

Andrew said...

good plan. brings back memories of Jeremy Giambi... Can't forget Mike Maddux or, going way back, Vince Dimaggio!

GM-Carson said...

They're already on the list.

furiousBall said...

I want Marcus Giles and Chooch to settle the dust up they had two years ago

GM-Carson said...

They're both squatty lil dudes, so that would be amusing to see.

furiousBall said...

I think it would be awesome if they settled it via an Ugeth Urbina machete death match

Jon said...

We over at Hot Stove Philly have started a free online petition to have Romero reinstated. Clink on the link to show your support and Phillies' pride!

Bob D said...

That picture looks like they did settle it Urbina style death match.

Aaron said...

Yes I think JC got royally screwed...but mlb players need to STOP BUYING "SUPPLIMENTS" at "HEALTH STORES".

Eat Bananas, stop taking pills that say things like EXTREME on them you freakin idiots!!

GM-Carson said...

That's exactly why I posted from both viewpoints Aaron.

GM-Carson said...

Pirates might actually make a signing worth talking about, as it's rumored Rocco Baldelli is choosing between the Buccos and 2 AL teams.

GM-Carson said...

The Phillies have invited nine additional players to spring training as non-roster invitees, bringing their total to 19 players.

Bios on the players, courtesy of the Phillies PR staff:

Antonio Bastardo, LHP … Bastardo, 23, combined to go 4-5 with a 2.95 ERA in 19 starts between single-A Clearwater and double-A Reading last season. A midseason Florida State League All-Star in 2008, Bastardo allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 19 starts. He won the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month Award in April (2-0, 1.17 ERA, 5 GS) and also pitched for the Gigantes del Cibao in the Dominican Winter League.

Yorman Bazardo, RHP … Bazardo, 24, began the season on Detroit’s Opening Day roster but spent the majority of the season with triple-A Toledo where he went 4-13 with a 6.72 ERA in 25 games (22 starts). Following the season, Bazardo pitched for the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan Winter League. For his career, Bazardo has gone 2-1 with a 5.72 ERA in 15 major league games (2 starts) between Florida (2005) and Detroit (2007-08).

Jason Donald, INF … Donald, 24, spent last season with double-A Reading where he hit .307 with 14 home runs and 54 RBI in 92 games and was named both a midseason and postseason Eastern League All-Star. In addition to starting for the U.S. team at shortstop in the 2008 All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium in July, Donald was also a member of Team U.S.A.’s bronze medal-winning team at the Summer Games in Beijing, China. Donald also participated in the Arizona Fall League where he was named to the Top Prospect Team.

Jason Ellison, OF… Ellison, 30, spent the majority of last season with triple-A Oklahoma in the Texas Rangers organization, where he hit .239 with two home runs and 45 RBI in 120 games. In a nine-game stint with the Rangers in August, he hit .231 with two RBI and scored five runs. For his major league career, Ellison has hit .251 with eight home runs and 35 RBI in 344 games between the Giants (2003-06), Mariners (2007), Reds (2007) and Rangers (2008).

Marcus Giles, INF … Giles, 30, did not play last season but has appeared in 792 major league games between Atlanta (2001-06) and San Diego (2007), hitting .277 with 76 home runs and 333 RBI. A National League All-Star in 2003, Giles has played in 25 career postseason games, all with Atlanta, where he hit .217 with two home runs and six RBI. For his career, he is batting .294 with 19 home runs and 250 RBI with runners in scoring position.

Tuffy Gosewisch, C … Also a non-roster invitee to spring training in 2007, Gosewisch, 25, spent the 2008 season with single-A Clearwater where he hit .218 with three home runs and 34 RBI in a career-high 102 games. Following the season he played for Mesa in the AFL where he hit .280 with four RBI in seven games.

Paul Hoover, C … Hoover, 32, played for both triple-A Albuquerque and the Florida Marlins last season. He began the year on Florida’s Opening Day roster and hit .200 with two RBI in eight games with the Marlins. At Albuquerque he hit .251 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 50 games. For his major league career, Hoover has hit .230 with five RBI in 28 games between Tampa Bay (2001-02) and Florida (2006-08).

Gary Majewski, RHP … Last season, Majewski, 28, pitched for both triple-A Louisville and the Cincinnati Reds. With Louisville, he went 2-1 with three saves and a 3.76 ERA in 22 games. In 37 appearances for Cincinnati, Majewski was 1-0 with a 6.53 ERA and posted a season-best 6.2-inning scoreless streak, spanning seven games. Over his five-year major league career he has gone 9-13 with two saves and a 4.61 ERA in 229 games between Montreal/Washington (2004-06) and Cincinnati (2006-08).

Jeremy Slayden, OF … Slayden, 26, spent all of last season with double-A Reading where in 131 games he hit .298 with 17 home runs and 81 RBI. Named an EL midseason All-Star, Slayden finished fourth in the league in extra-base hits (52) and total bases (232) and tied for fourth in doubles (33). He batted .362 during a season-best 18-game hit streak which was third-longest in the EL in 2008. Slayden also played for Mesa in the AFL where he hit .286 with three home runs and 27 RBI in 26 games.

LynnieMac said...

I think the Ibanez signing will be the thing Amaro points to as his big deal (well, that and giving Grampy Moyer a contract) in the hopes it will greatly eclipse the rest of his work this off-season: Marcus Giles, Mike Koplove, Gary Majewski, Chan Ho Park.

I can't even comment on the Romero debacle without popping an aneurysm.

GM-Carson said...

The longer and longer free agents go unsigned, the cheaper they'll get and that's bad news for the Phils since their roster is already full. Teams like the Mets and Braves are going to swoop in and sign decent guys for chump change compared to the old days (old days- see 2007).

SirAlden said...

Romero should sue.

"Ibanez is an equally bad fielder and when it all boils down is pretty much equivalent to Burrell offensively."

Ibanez is no where near close to Burrell in fielding, by any measure. Pat and Manny are heads and shoulders worse. In fact, Ibanez lost 2 less games with his glove than Burrell last year.

Who do you want post All-Star Game 2008, .215 Hitting Burrell,
or .321 Hitting Ibanez?

I have a question. If all this is about winning next year who would you have signed?

Bradley or
Ibanez ?

dr. steve said...

Carson, we have to sign more talent. Our roster might be full, but it sucks.

GM-Carson said...

Sir Alden is being named the official flag waver for Raul Ibanez as he's clearly his fan club president.