Angels owner Arte Moreno told reporters at Wednesday’s Torii Hunter/Jon Garland press conference that the Mitchell Report will specifically name players linked to performance-enhancing drugs. This tends to add a bit more credence to my theory that Moreno had advance knowledge of Gary Matthews Jr.’s name being in the report and may be planning to suspend Matthews or even attempt to abort the contract.
Ross Newhan of the Los Angeles Times wrote:
Moreno described himself as a "squeaky wheel" who has urged the commissioner’s office to be "proactive in cleaning up" the sport of performance-enhancing drugs and said that "anyone who tries to cheat the system shouldn’t be in baseball." He implied that he welcomed the Mitchell report as another step in that process.
"If you’ve got dirty laundry, get it out there and get rid of it," he said, adding that if anyone is to blame for baseball’s failure to take an aggressive stance on steroids and other substances before implementing a tougher testing program, "I blame the owners for not sticking up for too many years for what’s right."
As I wrote earlier, this could devolve into a players’ strike if MLB attempts to fire en masse the named players (which might get certain teams out of bloated contracts with the named players). But Newhan wrote:
Moreno said he does not know if Selig will discipline players who are named in the Mitchell report and insisted that there was "zero relationship" between the possibility that Matthews, a center fielder who will now move to a corner outfield position, could be suspended and the acquisition of Hunter, a Gold Glove center fielder.
Moreno also complained that the Marlins are playing the Angels and Dodgers against each other for Miguel Cabrera’s services. Well, duh. That’s what any good GM would do — use a petulant owner’s impatience against him. That’s how Scott Boras extracted a 10-year $250 million contract out of Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks for Alex Rodriguez.
The Miami Herald reports that the Angels tried twice to acquire Cabrera but were unsuccessful. Marlins’ president Larry Benifest took the high road. “We do not comment on trades or trade rumors,”” he told the paper.
I won’t write another long screed lecturing about the consequences of flushing all the talent in the farm system for one player, wiping out the entire next generation of affordable talent and also losing all organizational depth in the hope that the one player doesn’t get hurt. But I think Moreno’s awakening to the reality that the Marlins won’t just give him what he wants should make him think twice about this deal.
Another trade rumor has the Angels inquiring about Twins’ ace Johan Santana, who’s a free agent after 2008. One problem is that Santana has a full no-trade clause.
And I keep seeing rumors popping up about Matthews being traded. As I’ve written before, Matthews has a full no-trade clause through 2009. And no, contrary to speculation by some on the fan boards, Matthews won’t waive the clause if we ask nice. He’s building a house in Newport Beach. Why would he want to walk away from that?!
The outfield roulette is a one-year arrangement until Garret Anderson’s contract expires after 2008. Matthews is going nowhere. Unless MLB tries to discipline him, that is …
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