Mitchell Report Looms Over Winter Meetings

With the winter meetings fast approaching, let’s talk about the one thing that has been looming over the baseball offseason:  The Mitchell Report.   Earlier reports had suggested that the study on steroid abuse within baseball led by former majority leader Senator George Mitchell could be released by the end of this year.   Any potential free agent or trade candidate will undoubtedly lose value if linked to this report.

On that note, today comes a story out of FloridaToday.com about former Reds and Marlins trainer Larry Starr.  Starr was a trainer for 30 years and claims that he warned MLB about rampant steroid abuse two decades ago.  Says Starr:  “I have notes from the Winter Meetings where the owners group and the players’ association sat in meetings with the team physicians and team trainers. I was there. And team physicians stood up and said, ‘Look, we need to do something about this. We’ve got a problem here if we don’t do something about it.’ That was in 1988.”

Starr says he won’t name names but says some teams had up to 40% of their players using performance enhancing drugs, and that by the late 80’s, “20%-30%” of the entire league was using.   Starr said, “When Mark McGwire was discovered taking androstenedione, when that hit ESPN, four players walked into my office within an hour and asked, ‘Where can I get androstenedione?’ ”

Starr grew very concerned with particular players but says he wasn’t able to protect the players as much as he could because the league refused to acknowledge and tackle the problem.  He doesn’t blame the players for using the system.  He seems to blame the league for enabling them.

It’s a great article by David Jones.  I recommend reading it in it’s entirety as a good warm-up for what’s ahead with the Mitchell Report fallout.

Reds Snag Cordero

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According to Ken Rosenthal, the Reds have reached a preliminary 4 year agreement with closer Francisco Cordero worth $46 million. The deal reportedly includes a 5th year option which could bring the total of the deal to $57 million.

The Reds can now move David Weathers back to his customary set-up man role. Cordero was an all-star last season, converting 44 out of 51 save opportunites with a 2.98 ERA.

While Cordero was impressive in 2007, this seems like an extradinarily steep price to pay. The Reds’ will be using a nice chunk of their payroll on an above average closer, and a nice warm fleece.

The Brewers will have to recover from losing both Scott Linebrink and Francisco Cordero, leaving two gaping hole in their bullpen.

Reds and Cordero “Talking”

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According to Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports, the Reds and Free Agent closer Francisco Cordero are in “serious talks” about a contract that would land Cordero in Cincinnati.

As per Rosenthal, the Brewers, who have lost set-up man Scott Linebrink, have offered Cordero a 4 year deal worth an estimated $42 million. They are in danger of losing their closer, as well.

If Cordero is able to score a contract worth more than the reported deal already offered by the Brewers, he will stand as one of the major winners this off-season.

Tejada to the West Coast?

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According to Tim Brown, of Yahoo! Sports, the Los Angeles Angels are in hot pursuit of a trade to bring Miguel Tejada to Disneyland.  In recent trade talks last season, the O’s had asked the Angels for Ervin Santana, Scott Shields and Howie Kendrick in exchange for Tejada.  The Angels had countered with several offers, including a package of Ervin Santana and blue-chip prospect Erick Aybar.  No word on what exactly the O’s would be asking for this time around… but one can guess something like Santana, Aybar and Shields.  The Angels are also in trade talks with the Marlins regarding stud 3B Miguel Cabrera.  It is clear that the Angels need to make some sort of trade for an impact bat this offseason to protect Vlad Guerrero, and with the trade of Orlando Cabrera yesterday, it is now more evident than ever.  A deal must get done.

The Reds, Rangers, and some others had also expressed interest in Tejada last season at the trade deadline.  It would make sense for the O’s to move Tejada this offseason to the highest bidder, so they can infuse the major league club and farm system with multiple major league-level players.  Stay tuned…

Wayne Krivsky Looks To Bolster Reds’ Bullpen

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Wayne Krivsky has been asking around in an attempt to improve Cincinnati’s bullpen. While highly unlikely the Reds would bid on closer Francisco Cordero, as the cost may be extreme, there are other options as stated by John Fay. Kerry Wood, Latroy Hawkins, Octavio Dotel, and Scott Linebrink are all options Fay mentions in his article. Other alternatives could include the likes of Luis Vizcaino or Jeremy Affeldt. Krivsky has been secretive in regards to Cincinnati’s organizational plans, but look for the bullpen to be a primary target this off-season.