SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 14:  Melky Cabrera #5...

Melky Cabrera

Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has been one of the positive stories of 2012, building upon a solid 2011 season with another good season.  A $50 million contract extension was within grasp.  Then he got caught using synthetic testosterone and face a 50 game suspension.  Even if the Giants were to make the playoffs – a more difficult proposition without Cabrera in the lineup – he would be not be eligible to play until the NLCS.

If the story had ended there, it would be bad enough.  Later, news came out that Cabrera had blamed the positive test on a contaminated supplement.  Had this been true – that an unlisted ingredient caused the positive test – this would have been a get out of jail free card.  To bolster his case, Cabrera (or those working for him) created a web site promoting a non-existent supplement that was purportedly the cause.  Melky had engaged in a cover-up after the positive test.  Major League Baseball was not fooled.

In my opinion, Cabrera is getting off easy if he simply serves a 50 game suspension.  I feel that he should be punished both for the actual drug use and for attempting to deceive Major League Baseball.

As a tech guy, I’m curious exactly what Cabrera did.  Did he simply register a brand new domain under his named (easily sniffed out using a WHOIS) – or did he step up the level of sophistication by purchasing an “aged” domain and registering it under the name of a different entity?

Colon also busted

This week, former Cy Young winner Bartolo Colon also tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.  Colon had been pitching well for the A’s after a solid year last year for the Yankees.  Colon had encountered injuries after his 21-8 2005 campaign and was on pace to eclipse 200 innings pitched for the first time since that year.

Hamilton Breaks Record

MOBILE, AL - AUGUST 17: Billy Hamilton #4 of t...

Billy Hamilton – 148 steals so far this year

Billy Hamilton was the only player for the Cow...

19th century player Billy Hamilton – #3 in Major League career steals.

Reds AA shortstop “Sliding” Billy Hamilton stole four based on Tuesday night and in the process broke Vince Coleman’s 30 year old single season minor league stolen base record.  Coleman’s record was 145; Hamilton is at 148 and counting.  Hamilton was promoted the AA in mid-season and has a chance to lead two different leagues in stolen bases in the same year.  He is now 3 stolen bases ahead of Josh Prince for the Southern League lead (despite playing only 40 games compared to 127 for Prince) and is 19 ahead of Rico Noel in his old league, the California League (despite playing 40 fewer games than Noel.

The question marks surrounding Hamilton are whether he’ll be good enough to stick at shortstop, and whether he’ll be able to walk at a decent clip in the majors.  He has a good walk rate in the minors, but his anemic power may cause pitchers to challenge him in the majors and take their chances on batted balls.  He’s a “not good, not bad” defender at shortstop, but his great speed could make him a very good center fielder.

Around the Majors

Other news of note:

Nationals GM Davey Johnson says that the Nats may sit Stephen Strasburg down in later September, causing him to miss 2-3 starts.  No word on whether he would pitch in the post-season.  Strasburg is coming off Tommy John surgery and the Nationals are trying to limit his workload in order to prevent future arm problems.

The Houston Astros fired manager Brad Mills.  While the Astros are certainly having a very bad year (36 1/2 games out of first place in their division), it could hardly be characterized as disappointing.  The Astros have traded away nearly all of their players in an effort to cut costs and stockpile prospects.  As a result, the team Mills put on the field every day was always outmanned by the other team.  Mills will get another chance to manage.

A surge by the Cardinals has dropped the Pirates into third place in the National League wild card race (the top two non-division winners make the playoffs).  It will be interesting to see if Clint Hurdle can get the Bucs into the playoffs.  At the very least, he needs to get them 15 wins so that they can finish with a winning record for the first time in 20 years.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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