First, some good news. The Phillies yesterday made it official as they signed reliever Chan Ho Park, formerly of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to a one-year, $2.5 million dollars contract, to pitch for the Phils in 2009, after having past his physical. The right hander, who will be fighting for the fifth spot in the Phillies’ starting rotation with Kyle Kendrick, J.A. Happ, and minor leaguer Carlos Carrasco, but will more than likely be coming out of the bullpen, has pitched in 378 games, and starting in 280 of them, in a 15 years career as a major leaguer, with a record of 117 wins and 92 loses with an ERA of 4.34. For the 2008 Dodgers, he has appeared in 54 games, all but 5 of them coming out of the bullpen, going 4-4 on the year with a 3.40 ERA.
Later that day, the Phillies signed righthanded second baseman Marcus Giles to a minor league contract, with an invite to spring training, for $600,000. Although signed by the Colorado Rockies in 2008, he was released by them before the start of the 2008 season. His last full season in the majors was in 2007, where he played for the San Diego Padres for 116 games, going 96 for 420 for a .229 average, knocking in 39 RBIs on 19 2Bs, 3 3Bs and 4 HRs, while scoring 52 runs. In three years in the majors, he has a career batting average of .277, knocking in 333 RBIs on 187 2Bs, 16 3Bs and 76 HRs, while scoring 468 runs. Giles will more than likely, if he makes the team in spring training, be used as the second baseman while Chase Utley continues to recover from hip surgery, and then be used as insurance at second base and their right handed bat off of the bench after Utley’s return.
Now, the bad news. J.C. Romero has been suspended by MLB for the first 50 games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy, inspite of the fact that he has done nothing wrong, while doing every thing that he could to avoid violating the policy, as he took an over-the-counter supplement, bought from a Cherry Hill GNC, that contain traces of a substance that is on the MLB’s do not take policy. My opinion is that this is just flat-out bogus.
Other folks elsewhere have already commented on this, and I’m just going to give my two cents. I consider Romero the victim of bad advice, being told that the new product that he had bought over-the-counter from GNC was at the time okay to take, as the player’s association has told him that everything bought from a nutrition store like GNC was okay, as well as being told by three different nutritionists that it was safe to use, but never being informed that there was actually an illegal substance in it, according to the Center for Drug Free Sports. He only realized that something was wrong when he was told that he had tested positive during a drug test done on him on Aug. 26 in Sept., before, if the time line is correct, being informed that he has failed again on September 19. Romero took immediate action, and stop taking all of his supplements, not know which one has caused the positive reading, thus rating a negative when he was tested again on October 1, before the playoffs, so that whatever was that was in his system has finally passed through. But, he was at the time offered a deal by major league baseball: Admit that you was wrong in taking it and take a 25 games suspension, effective immediately, or, take your chances with arbitration, lose and get a 50 games suspension. Romero, who honestly believe that he has done nothing wrong (as would anyone who is following this very carefully, and without any bias), told them no on the plea, and decided to take his chances with an arbitrator. Sadly, the arbitrator found in favor of MLB, and Romero is now out for 50 games.
This whole thing would be funny, if not for the fact that Romero had done everything he could to not be in this present situation, as he kept asking if the product was safe to use, as did the Yankees’ Sergio Mitre, who also bought an over-the-counter product from GNC, that has also gotten him into hot water, with the same results, and are both now being penalized, and having their good names dragged through the mud because of other people’s mistakes, because these same people have been burned by the steroid era of the 90s and the reaction from the U.S. Congress a few years back. (Yeah, yeah, I know a few of you out there are saying sour grapes, but please read all of the articles on this, before making knee jerk reactions. It took me over a day before I’d decided to write about this, and it was only after reading several articles and seeing the reactions to it on several other blogs, and, for the most part, I am reading that people, in general, think that the two of them are both getting a raw deal.) Yeah, you heard me. This is the MLB trying to tell Congress and the public, see, see, we’re cleaning up our act. Sorry, guys, but for you to convince me, you need to do a whole lot better than this, when it doesn’t look that you’re trying to kiss up to the U.S. Congress. You guys are pathetic.
Anyway, I’m hoping that the Phillies will take advantage of the situation. How? Remember people, Romero will be gone for 50 games, plus how many games he might miss trying to get back into the swing of things, if the Phillies don’t have him pitching in their minor league system to get himself ready. Romero will thus be fresh and ready to go when the second half grind start. I feel sorry for the batters JC’ll be facing if he decides to use it as an opportunity to defend his honor by taking it out on them for the rest of the year. 🙂