Were back, and more chemical than ever


Were back, and more chemical than ever


--- The United Bay Area Chambers Of CommerceYes, were back, and better than ever. Bartolo Colon has just joined Melky Cabrera on the outlaw list, being suspended 50 games for rampant testosterone, and while you may not like it, it is what is it, and it glows in the dark.So we own it together, just as though they were the territorial rights to San Jose. Theres no need for us to be shy any longer. We are again on the cutting edge of syringes, topical creams, stuff you pour into your eyes, ears, nostrils and whatnot.So back off, all you outworlders. As Dobie Gray sang so many years ago in the song that should be the national anthem, The In Crowd, Other guys imitate us, but the originals still the greatest.Actually, we dont even know where the PED craze really started, just like nobody is actually sure what the first rocknroll song was. But the As of the late 80s were part of the first true craze (kind of the Sun Records of chemical enhancement), the Giants moved to the forefront when BALCO and session man Victor Conte had a series of hits in the early 2000s, and now in the space of a week, we get two more guys with the new synthetic testosterone craze.Which also isnt very new, except that baseball is now tracking more successfully for it.Now this may be a matter of shame for many of you, and you may choose to be either embarrassed or angry at this new development. If youre Buck Showalter or Jim Leyland or Mike Scioscia or Joe Maddon, you can fire out snot bubbles of fulminate rage about the advantages the As got when Colon was pitching, just as Don Mattingly and Kirk Gibson did a week ago.Well tough darts, middle schoolers. This is apparently what were good at finding and signing guys who have an athletic epiphany that comes in a handy tube.This is not to suggest that either the Giants or As actually knew Cabrera and Colon were packing heat, as it were. We have no way of deducing that without a handy paper trail that almost certainly does not exist. In fact, this is more coincidence than anything else.But appearance is everything in a shallow world, so we own what we have to own, and we will do it proudly."A FEW OF OUR GUYS CHEAT. GET YOUR 2013 SEASON TICKETS AND FIND OUT WHOS NEXT"

-- The Giants and AthleticsLook, we could give you some song, dance and magic tricks about how we abhor this kind of thing and how it makes us look bad, but youre not going to listen to that. If you think this is about the entire Bay Area, we cant help straighten you out.So were going to wear the coat, and were going to be loud about it. I mean, if you have to take your medicine, its better to down it in one gulp, make that Hello-Kitty-Dropped-Off-A-Building face and get on with your day.So thats what were doing. Yes, baseball can fix some of its drug testing by making it perfectly transparent and independent, and Bud Selig can look all cross and bothered about how this affects his legacy, and we can all breastbeat ourselves into an angina attack about this.But wheres the fun in that?So screw it. This is us, for good or ill. Were back, and more chemical than ever. You thought we were out of the loop, but you cannot keep us down forever. Your favorite team will be next. Your favorite player will take a 50 for eye of newt concentrate, Brazilian wombat extract or pixie blood, but dont you get all smug and self-righteous. We were here first, and that will never change. So back off, pretenders."OUR BOUNDLESS ENERGY COMES IN A TUBE. ASK US HOW."

-- The side of every bus in the nine-county area.Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

A’s agree to terms with Gray, Hendriks and Vogt to avoid arbitration

The Oakland A’s avoided arbitration with right-handed pitchers Sonny Gray and Liam Hendriks and catcher Stephen Vogt when they agreed to terms on one-year contracts for the 2017 season, the club announced today.

Gray went 5-11 with a 5.69 ERA in 22 starts last year in a season shortened by two stints on the disabled list.  His ERA was more than 2½ runs higher than his previous career high and his five wins follow back-to-back 14-win seasons.  Gray went 33-20 with a 2.88 ERA 76 games over his first three seasons with the A’s and now has a 3.42 ERA in his career, which ranks ninth in Oakland history.

Hendriks compiled a 3.76 ERA and .270 opponents batting average in 53 relief appearances in his first season with the A’s.  He had an 8.27 ERA and .394 opponents batting average in 11 games before going on the disabled list in early May with a strained right triceps.  Hendriks then logged a 2.23 ERA and .222 opponents batting average in 42 games following his return from the DL.

Vogt played in a career-high 137 games last year and hit .251 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI.  He also had career bests with 123 hits, 30 doubles and 46 extra base hits.  Vogt was named to his second consecutive American League All-Star team.

The only remaining arbitration eligible player on the A’s roster is Khris Davis.

A's media services

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

Mariners swing pair of trades, bolster rotation with addition of Smyly

SEATTLE -- Jerry Dipoto's 11th trade this offseason rounded out the Seattle Mariners roster with his top target.

"I've probably spent more time through the course of our offseason trying to acquire Drew Smyly than any other thing that we've done," the general manager said Wednesday.

Seattle made pair of deals on Wednesday that ultimately landed Smyly, a pitcher Dipoto thinks will fill out the Mariners starting rotation. Seattle also landed a potential key reliever, getting right-hander Shae Simmons from the Atlanta Braves.

The Mariners acquired outfielder Mallex Smith from Atlanta, then sent him to Tampa Bay along with infielder Carlos Vargas and left-hander Ryan Yarbrough for Smyly. Smith was also an offseason target for the Mariners but when Seattle acquired Jarrod Dyson from Kansas City last week, Smith instead became the conduit in helping to obtain Smyly.

"It became apparent to us over the last two or three days that we were able to access Drew Smyly by making the deal with Atlanta that tapped into Mallex Smith," Dipoto said. "So effectively these were two deals that were interlinked."

Smyly is the centerpiece of what Seattle was trying to accomplish as the Mariners seem to have rounded out a starting rotation that appeared to be a major question at the start of the year. The acquisitions of Smyly and Yovani Gallardo from Baltimore last week appear to have filled out a rotation where Felix HernandezHisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton were the only certainties.

Smyly, 27, made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA, but starting pitching is one of Tampa Bay's strongest assets, and Rays senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander felt comfortable making the deal because of the depth the Rays have in that area.

Smyly was 15-15 with a 3.95 ERA in 49 starts for Tampa Bay after being acquired from Detroit in the 2014 trade deadline deal that sent David Price to the Tigers. He is arbitration eligible after winning $3.75 million in an arbitration hearing last season.

"He fits our ballpark particularly well. He's a pretty extreme fly-ball pitcher with the low walks, high strikeouts, who in our ballpark, with what we think is a greatly improved outfield defense fits us like a glove really," Dipoto said. "If as we expect he shows up and does his thing it should fit very well for us in this ballpark."

What Smith may be able to add was attractive to Neander, who said the trade was made to help position the Rays to be competitive in 2017. He stopped short of saying he expects Smith to make the team coming out of spring training.

"We need to get better," Neander said. "To do that, we need more competition" for jobs.

Simmons is also a key acquisition for Seattle, providing another power arm in the bullpen. Simmons, 26, made seven appearances last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and threw just 6 2/3 big league innings. Before elbow issues, Simmons was 1-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 26 appearances during the 2014 season.

"He's had a strong history with striking (batters) out and (we're) really excited to plug him in," Dipoto said.

The cost for Seattle to complete to two deals meant giving up two of its top pitching prospects in Yarbrough and Luiz Gohara. Yarbrough, 25, was named the Southern League pitcher of the year after going 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA at Double-A Jackson last season. Gohara, 20, was 7-2 with a 1.81 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 13 starts at two Class A stops.

Seattle also sent lefty Thomas Burrows to Atlanta and designated right-hander Cody Martin for assignment to make room on its 40-man roster.