When you're a 32-year-old outfielder who had one good year -- not even great like Beltre in 2004... merely good -- and got rewarded with a five-year, $50 million contract, well, good sense says you better not get embroiled in any off-field controversy or do anything to embarrass your front office. Like, say, get implicated in a steroids sting... that could get you suspended 80 games... when you're making $10 million/yr. That would be B-A-D.
Ahem, Gary Matthews Jr. In an article titled "Dark Angel" -- which is, frankly, all the reason we need to post a picture of Jessica Alba -- Sports Illustrated's underrated scoop-meister Jon Heyman writes, "Team officials are also said to have been examining the language in Matthews' contract to gauge their chances for recourse should the allegations prove correct." As you can imagine, Arty Moreno and company aren't pleased. (That report, by the way, was part of a larger ongoing investigation brought to you by the company that felt posting sophomoric pictures of college cheerleaders would help its national profile, proving that, despite its efforts, SI is finding it tougher than it expected to sully its image and render itself entirely irrelevant in the shadow of ESPN.)
The whole thing got me thinking... what might the Royals, if their players were immoral enough to actually do such a thing (which they NEVER would), accomplish if they went on 'roids? Three case studies...
Why it would help: HGH's undeniable healing power is just what a nice guy like Mike -- who missed nearly 100 games last year due to a bulging disc in his back -- could use. Mike, forget the yoga and embrace the quick-fix splendor of steroids!
Expected output on 'roids (obtained by adding 10 percent to previous career highs): .374/.459/.619, 32 HR, 51 doubles, 158 RBI
Why it would help: Reggie is 39 years old. Here's what 'roids did for Bonds when he was 39: 362/.609/.812, 45 HR, 101 RBI. This was, incidentally, Bonds's last transcendent season. While the long-term effects of steroids are mostly detrimental, most don't expect Sanders to be with the Royals past August, so if we could only get him to juice hard for three months to catch the eye of some unsuspecting GM... I hear the Angels may be in need of an outfielder sometime in the near future. With a little help, I'm sure Sanders can be an above-average centerfielder.
Expected output on 'roids: .337/.437/.637, 36 HR, 109 RBI, 40 SB
Why it would help: Zach is young, just 23, which means his body is in prime steroid-receiving state. He already has the ability to throw a 94-mph fastball, so just imagine what a little juice can do -- especially since he still has a wicked 68-mph curve and a serviceable change-up that's only getting better. Steroids also cause "accelerated puberty changes," which, I think, means they'll toughen up the kid, who's battled emotional issues in the past (see: departure from team, last spring). Also, word has it Greinke hasn't had his first pimple yet, and the back is as good a place as any body part for those things, so why not?
Expected output on 'roids: 0.15 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 285 K's
This is all speculation, of course. Our Royals, immersed in Midwestern virtue and surrounded by some of the classiest people in sports, would never stoop to the level of Shawne Merriman or David Bell. We win the right way in Kansas City.