A couple of hours ago, I submitted my predictions for the 2015 MLB season which will hopefully be up by Monday morning.
In the meantime, I would like to make a few comments about the situations involving Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, Minnesota Twins pitcher Ervin Santana and Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart.
An arbitrator has decided not to suspend Hamilton following his disclosure that used cocaine in the off-season. Both the Angels and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred are less than pleased with the decision. The Angels are displeased they will have to continue to pay him his $125 million contract while Manfred is displeased with the arbitration process and that changes would need to be made. I suspect that Hamilton wasn’t suspended because he disclosed his relapse (as he did in 2009 and 2012). What’s interesting is that Hamilton seems to relapse once every three years and in the off-season. As long as he’s playing baseball, he’s fine at least where it concerns substance abuse.
Unfortunately, Hamilton’s tenure with the Angels has been plagued by injuries. He’s currently recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. The earliest he could return would be May. That month he turns 34. Hamilton’s best days as a player are probably behind him. Still, the Angels’ attitude is rather ripe. They knew full well of Hamilton’s history with substance abuse when they offered him a contract prior to the 2013 season.
The Angels are probably stuck with him. I’m not sure if any club is willing to part with prospects for an injury prone slugger with a long history of substance abuse. Although that could change down the stretch if a club is desperate for a power hitter. But more likely than not the Angels won’t get any takers nor will they release him and get nothing for their troubles.
Ervin Santana, who signed a four year, $54 million contract (with an option for a fifth year) with the Minnesota Twins, has been suspended for 80 games for testing positive for PEDs. For his part, Santana claims he does know how this banned substance got into his body. Unless he is prepared to appeal the suspension, I am disinclined to believe his claim. Santana can return to the club around the Fourth of July just before the All-Star Break. If the Twins are in contention, placing Santana in the rotation would be like trading for a new pitcher. This suspension needn’t be a death knell. Both Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz had suspensions and have come back without missing a beat although I wonder if the impact is different for pitchers.
Meanwhile, MLB will not be suspending Jarred Cosart over gambling allegations although he has been fined. As I speculated a couple of weeks ago, Cosart was gambling on sports other than baseball. The fine seems heavy handed to me. Even if you think gambling is foolish, it seems to me what Cosart does with his money is his business. MLB overreacts where it concerns gambling. I remember when Bowie Kuhn banished Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle from the game for working as greeters at Atlantic City casinos. As long as Cosart didn’t bet on baseball they should leave him alone.
The first pitch of the 2015 season won’t be thrown until tomorrow night and already things are interesting.