A day after several Dodgers voiced strong thoughts on the Astros’ cheating scandal and the organization’s subsequent apologies, Correa emotionally responded to the players around the league who have maintained that the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing wasn’t limited to 2017. And he directly addressed Cody Bellinger, challenging the reigning National League MVP’s unfiltered thoughts on the matter, including that Astros second baseman Jose Altuve stole the American League MVP award from the New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge in 2017.
The few Dodgers players watching Correa air his feelings disregarded him. They laughed. They yelled out rebuttals. Most went about their business at their lockers. He did nothing to change their minds.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was among those who watched. A few hours earlier, the closer spoke his mind on the situation. He also chose not to mince words. Jansen said the Astros’ cheating was worse than the performance-enhancing and gambling scandals that have previously marred the sport.
“You killed a lot of young careers during the season,” Jansen said. “Pitchers used to come up and get crushed and get sent down. And then all you gotta say is, ‘I’m sorry.’ People are not having a job right now because of that, and that’s why I’m saying it’s worse. At least back then everybody used to use steroids. So it was a fair game.”
Jansen insisted Major League Baseball’s punishment — namely giving players immunity in exchange for cooperating with the league’s investigation — was woefully inadequate, suggesting the Astros should be banned the 2020 postseason. He pointed to UEFA’s recent decision to ban Manchester City from the Champions League for two years as an example.
“We suspend coaches, managers, and you don’t suspend players, you’re basically telling teams to keep on doing it,” Jansen said. “It’s like when the first suspension of steroids came. It was 15 games, and guys [kept] doing it. I don’t think this is enough. You think they’re going to stop doing it? All they’re going to do is fire a manager, and fire coaches, they’re not going to blame the players. In my mind, I don’t think it’s gonna stop.”
Jansen was the best relief pitcher in the majors in 2017. He was as close to unhittable as a closer can approach for seven months. And he reached that level by snapping cutters at a high clip. So he was stunned when Alex Bregman hit a slider off him for a home run in Game 4 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park.
On Saturday, he wondered if Bregman knew a slider was coming. He suggested the same thing about Altuve crushing a slider for a walk-off home run against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in Game 6 of the ALCS last October.
“Who would sit on Chapman’s slider in this game?” Jansen said. “Let’s be honest — a guy who throws 105 miles per hour. Who would sit on his slider?”
Correa and other Astros players have vehemently denied that they illegally stole signs after the 2017 season, though the commissioner’s report states the cheating continued into 2018. Correa ripped into Bellinger for saying he “100%” believes the Astros cheated in 2018 and 2019. He questioned Bellinger’s reading comprehension and challenged him to get informed.
At least we finally saw a real reaction out of somebody lol.
— Alex Wood (@Awood45) February 15, 2020
But the Dodgers believe they know enough. They had heard the whispers for years and they’re not giving in.
“This is the worst thing that could’ve happened in baseball,” Jansen said.
The Dodgers traded outfielder Kyle Garlick to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league left-hander Tyler Gilbert. Garlick was designated for assignment last week to free up a spot on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster for one of their recent acquisitions. … Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said right-hander Brusdar Graterol will participate in a workout Sunday after missing the first two days of spring training with an illness. The Dodgers acquired Graterol, a 21-year-old prospect, from the Minnesota Twins for starter Kenta Maeda last week.