Melky Cabrera's deception included fake web site


Melky Cabrera's deception included fake web site

SAN DIEGO For all the candor and contrition in MelkyCabreras statement on Wednesday, it was preceded by a month-long web ofdeception. That much is becoming clearer by the day.

Cabrera was not honest with Giants officials and trainerswhen asked in late July if he failed a drug test. Im told he was not honestwith inquisitive teammates, either. And now were hearing from the New YorkDaily News that a handler hired by his agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, created afalse Web site as part of an elaborate ruse to try to blame his positivetestosterone test on a product he claimed to purchase on the Internet.

Major League Baseball uncovered the plot before handing downa 50-game suspension on Wednesday that ended Cabreras hugely successful seasonin which he was leading the majors in hits and runs.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy would not comment specifically onthe Daily News report, saying hed just heard about it when announcersmentioned it during the Braves-Dodgers game he had on in his office.

But Bochy said he was concerned that players were receivingbad advice from handlers, undoing the educational efforts that the league andteams have undertaken to make sure players understand the drug policy.

It does concern me, Bochy said. Theyre getting some badinformation away from the ballpark.

We cant have a bodyguard on these guys. You cant do it.It comes down to choices, and unfortunately, I do think they get bad advicefrom other sources.

There are plenty of outside voices who will point out thattwo of the four suspended major leaguers this season are Giants (Cabrera andGuillermo Mota), and this is the same organization that allowed Barry Bondstrainer, Greg Anderson, full run of the clubhouse during the BALCO years.

But Bochy painted the Giants organization as victims, andcertainly not as co-conspirators, in Cabreras deception. Bochy said the clubdoes not allow non-credentialed personnel in the clubhouse, nor do they allowany supplements in the clubhouse that are not on MLBs approved list.

What else can we do? Bochy said. Im all for solving theproblem. You can be the best parents in the world world class parents andyour kids can go south, you can have issues.

We cant follow these guys 247. It comes down to choices.These are grown men.

Bochy would not comment on whether Cabrera, with his liesnow uncovered, would be welcome to rejoin the club in the postseason if theGiants advance past five games. His suspension would be up at that point.

But privately, there are few around the team who wouldwelcome the sight of Cabrera in a Giants uniform again. And the New York DailyNews report only underscores how deep his deception went.

Were all disappointed. Its always disappointing when youlearn of a player that failed a drug test. I think the facts are, we doeverything we can not to have anything like that happen. Were fully behind theMLB drug policy. Our training staff raises awareness as well as anybody inbaseball. These are unfortunate things and well work at cleaning outbaseball.

Bochy was asked: Does it bother him more that Cabrera was animpending free agent? The question insinuated that Cabrera tried to cheat thedrug policy for monetary gain, and not primarily to help the team win.

Doesnt matter to me, Bochy said.

When someone burns you and lies to your face, the details dontreally matter.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."