Richard Meltzer 5:01 p.m., Dec. 4
Everth Cabrera apologizes for 50-game suspension
Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera gets suspended by MLB, comes clean with what he did, but is that enough?
The apology from Everth Cabrera on Monday, heartfelt as it seemed to be - along with what also seemed to be an honest confession, isn’t enough. It probably would have been enough back in February when Cabrera was first implicated in the Biogenesis scandal, but not anymore.
Cabrera was, as expected, suspended for fifty games under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program (JDP) which is an extension of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between players (represented by the Major League Baseball Players Association, or MLBPA) and MLB owners. After the expected announcement from the Commissioner’s Office, the Padres issued the following statement:
“The Padres fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. The club will continue to stand behind the Commissioner’s Office to ensure the integrity of baseball.”
Shortly after that, the Padres announced that General Manager Josh Byrnes would be available via conference call for a press conference concerning the matter. I attended in my bath robe, as Monday was an off-day for the Padres.
Byrnes was about as candid as he could be. He answered questions from the beat writers, the usual suspects, Bill Center of the U-T, Corey Brock of MLB.com, Bernie Wilson from the AP, and so on. "As we continue to try to clean up the game, it's a painful but necessary step," said Byrnes, in a tone that saturated the brief conference.
Byrnes said all of the things one would expect. “This is difficult. It hits close to home. But in the longer view it's a good thing for the game. I think this is a big day for Major League Baseball and the players who've been clean for some time.”
Not long after – still in my bath robe and ready to write, I received an email from the Padres that gave me 45 minutes to shower and shave and get to Petco Park, Cabrera was going to give a press conference. That would have been impossible, but I did get the lowdown from various other sources.
Apparently, Cabrera appeared honest and contrite. He admitted to being offered a treatment for an ailing shoulder prior to the 2012 season. He admitted to briefly using that treatment knowing that it was a banned substance according to the JPD.
Listening to his statement recorded, along with other sources, by Padres flagship 1090 AM, he certainly sounds sincere, sorry, and honest. He even cried. I could have written about this directly afterwards, but I was too wrapped up in what other media had to say about it.
Apparently, San Diego media has – for the most part – forgiven Everth. Why anyone would is beyond me. It isn’t that Cabrera is disingenuous, because so far he’s the only one of the thirteen players suspended by MLB over this who has actually admitted what he did.
I don’t know Everth Cabrera. My few interviews with Everth have been cordial, he exudes great positive energy and is a delight to talk with. His play on the field is outstanding, nothing but hustle and try, and it’s obvious that he loves playing the game.
All I know is that back in February, Cabrera had a chance to make the same statements that he made on Monday, and he chose not to. I would have a lot more respect for him now if he had done that then.
What Cabrera can do to redeem himself now is to continue to work and come back in 2014 and be the player he was this season. And while that won’t erase what happened on Monday, it will go a long way toward making it a blur, which is probably the best that Everth can hope for.
In Cabrera’s absence, the Padres have called up recently acquired Ronny Cedeno, who was with single-A Lake Elsinore. The 30-year old Venezuelan veteran has played for five other teams in the big leagues before signing a minor league contract with the Padres after being released from the Astros organization a few weeks ago. Cedeno has a .245 lifetime batting average, but sports a reasonably solid glove at shortstop and seems to be insurance in case Logan Forsythe or Alexi Amarista fail to fill the position adequately.
With the Bronx Zoo gone to Chicago after losing 2 of 3 to the Friars, the Baltimore Orioles come to San Diego for a pair of games. First pitch is slated for 7:10 PM PDST, and features Edinson Volquez (8-8, 5.23) for the Padres against Bud Norris (1-0, 3.00) for the Orioles. Radio 1090 AM along with Fox Sports San Diego will have coverage if you can’t make it out to the ball park.