Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Possible Fallout

By now it's all over the place.

The original story in The L.A. Times.


The Baltimore Sun ... x2.

All of them say basically the same thing. Jason Grimsley, who was caught in June receiving a shipment of Human Growth Hormone, said in an affidavit that three Orioles were using anabolic steroids when he was on the team in 2004 and 2005.

Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons and Brian Roberts.

Tejada has been through this suspicion before. Jose Canseco speculated in his book that Tejada was on the juice because he bulked up and got a big payday when he put up power numbers. Then Rafael Palmeiro said he thought he might have tested positive because of some vitamin shots that Tejada gave him. However, the league went out of their way to say that Tejada had never tested positive.

Gibbons and Roberts have never been subject to any real documented suspicion, but I'm sure people have wondered.

The problem is, they test for anabolic steroids. This isn't human growth hormone, which the league does not test for. Wouldn't these things have shown up?

I guess that's the Orioles optimist in me coming out. I even wanted to believe Rafael Palmeiro until it became impossible.

But all this has me wondering what Peter Angelos' reaction will be.

The team will wrap up its ninth straight losing season this afternoon and Angelos was the subject of a fan protest a couple weeks ago. He's got to be feeling some heat to make things happen. Will the second team steroid scandal in as many years be what leads him to blow the team up?

Many thought Tejada should have been traded in the middle of the season and some still think he will be traded this offseason. Gibbons' injuries have had many questioning the contract extension he received last year, and he's a man without a position now that he's said he doesn't want to be a fulltime designated hitter and Nick Markakis has stolen his spot in right field.

But the big question mark is Brian Roberts. He's arbitration eligible and it seemed his extension was going to be a high priority for the team this offseason. If Angelos decides to blow up the team, can you really just deny arbitration to one of the game's most valuable second basemen with no replacement and only an implication and no proof of guilt?

Potentially, Angelos could feel the need to cleanse himself of this whole mess by creating a team almost entirely of players acquired or promoted after testing started. There's still no way to know that they're definitely clean, but at least there would be no Grimsley accusations and it would be hard to prove anything if they haven't been caught.

Markakis, Ramon Hernandez, Corey Patterson, Kevin Millar... It's a start, but not a very good one.

Of course this is purely specualation, and given Angelos history of an "ohhhh things will get better in time" attitude, it's hard to believe he'd actually feel the need to start over from scratch, but who knows what his reaction to this news will be?

One thing is for sure, this can't help in the efforts to lure big name free agents like Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee or Jason Schmidt. All of which means ... yes ... more years of sucking!

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