The Mitchell Report Revisited, Part VIII
After a breather of a few days, we’re back with our never ending series on the Mitchell Report. Missed our series so far? Catch up with Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII. Get yourself a tall latte first.
As an aside, let’s give a tip of the hat to dearly departed Paul Newman by remembering his role in one of the greatest sports movies ever made, Slap Shot. (Okay, so this clip is more about the Hanson Brothers, but damn, it’s classic.)
Finally, we must apologize for the fact that the site was down most of the day yesterday. Tim E., the technical genius behind RotoRob, is taking a much deserved vacation, lying on a beach in Cuba sucking on fine cigars enjoying the ladies (or is it the other way around?). At any rate, the day he leaves, our servers went on the fritz, so thanks to Tim’s son for saving the site from dead air.
When he was a Yankee, two-time All-Star Neagle first met Kirk Radomski in a New York nightclub, as per Radomski (by the way, is it just me, or was Radomski some kind of omnipresent dude?). Apparently, after the two met, Neagle called up Radomski and wanted to score some HGH, and between 2000 and 2004, Radomski says he sold Neagle HGH and anabolic steroids five or six times. Eight cheques from Neagle to Radomski were reproduced in the index of the report and Neagle’s name and numbers were in Radomski’s little black book. Neagle never responded to George Mitchell’s request for an interview. Additionally, he helped pimp for Radomski by referring Ron Villone (see below) and Gary Bennett, Jr. (who we will discuss later in the series) to the dealer. Neagle’s career essentially ended after 2003. In 2004, he had his contract terminated by the Rox after he pleaded guilty to soliciting a hooker. Apparently, Neagle had a taste for the finer things in life. The following year, he tried to catch on with the Rays, but was released during Spring Training. Neagle’s best year was in 1997, when he went 20-5 with an ERA under 3.00 in 34 starts for the Braves. He hurt his elbow early in the 2003 season and never made it back to the majors. All told, Neagle won 124 games and struck out 1,415 batters with a 4.24 ERA over 286 starts, 106 relief appearances and 1,890 1/3 IP.
Journeyman Villone is still scuffling around the majors, 13 years after making his major league debut in 1995. As mentioned above, Radomski says that Villone was referred to him by Neagle when the two were teammates in Colorado in 2001. According to Radomski, between 2004 and 2005, Villone made three purchases of HGH from him. In June 2006, Villone reportedly called Radomski, looking to get hooked up again, but this was after the feds had searched Radmoski’s home, so he told Villone he was out of supply. Villone’s name, address and phone number appeared in Radomski’s address book, seized by the feds. Villone declined the chance to be interviewed for the report. Further, Villone also helped Radomski by referring Ryan Franklin to him (see below). Villone’s best season was probably in 2005, when he recorded a 2.46 ERA in 40 1/3 IP as a set-up man for the Mariners, however, he stunk after a mid-season trade to the Marlins. Way back in 1996, his second season in the bigs, he recorded a 3.14 ERA in 44 games split between San Diego and Milwaukee. This season with the Cards, he’s excelled as a lefty specialist, holding lefties to a .181 BAA in a career-high 73 appearances. However, his awful mark against righties has pushed his overall ERA up to 4.74. He has a 56-59 career mark, mostly as a reliever, with a lifetime ERA of 4.76.
As discussed above, Franklin was referred to Radomski by Villone when the pair was teammates in Emerald City in 2004. Villone brokered a deal between Radomski and Franklin, calling up Radomski and telling him to send Franklin Anavar and Deca-Durabolin. In August 2005, Franklin was suspended for ten games after testing positive. At the time of the suspension, Franklin pleaded ignorance to how he tested positive: “There has to be a flaw in the system. I have no clue,” he told MLB.com at the time. Uh, yes. One part of your statement was true, Ryan: you have no clue. Franklin declined to be interviewed for the Mitchell Report. He enjoyed his best season as a set-up man for the Cards in 2007, going 4-4 with 25 holds and a save while recording a 3.04 ERA and striking out 44 with 11 walks in 69 games and 80 IP. This season, he’s taken over the closer role since Jason Isringhausen got hurt, but he hasn’t been quite as effective, with a 3.59 ERA and 30 walks in less innings than he threw last year. He actually wound up losing the job to Chris Perez, but then getting it back in the past week. In 389 games (106 starts) and 1,046 1/3 IP, Franklin has 51 wins, 55 holds, 565 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 4.20.
Radomski says he sold Winstrol to Williams once in 2001; Williams wouldn’t comment on these allegations for the report, however. His best season was in 2004 for the O’s when he recorded a 2-0 record and 2.87 ERA in 29 games and 31 1/3 IP. His numbers went steadily downhill over the next three seasons until the O’s released him in June 2007. Williams hasn’t pitched in the majors since.
Hiatt, a minor league veteran who got a few cracks at the bigs over his career, first talked to Radomski in 2001 and Radomski says he sold HGH and Deca-Durabolin to Hiatt two or three times over the course of several seasons. Hiatt declined a chance to talk to Mitchell for the report. Hiatt’s best season in the majors was 2001, which was also his last appearance as a big leaguer. In 30 games and 50 at bats off the Dodger bench that season, he hit .240. He was signed to a minor league deal by the Astros in December 2003 and played for their Triple-A team in 2004 before packing it in. In four MLB seasons and 170 career games, Hiatt hit .216 with a 645 OPS.
Next up, we’ll look at Todd Pratt, Kevin Young, Mike Lansing and others.