David Segui had a nice major league career. Fifteen years, a .291 average, and an .802 OPS. He was a superb defensive first baseman, playing in 1,456 major league games.
Late in his career, Segui took steroids.
His name was given to federal authorities by pitcher Jason Grimsley in the case of Kirk Radomski, the Mets’ clubhouse manager who distributed steroids to many players.
Segui called authorities to tell them of his own steroid use but refused to reveal other names. Segui, 48 and with two children, these days gives hitting lessons to a few major league players in the Phoenix area.
He says his lips are still sealed.
I thought of Segui recently after seeing firsthand, in spring training and early this season, the hatred fans have toward Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez exacerbated it by lying, but in reality so many players took steroids and got away with it. Some are likely holding down TV jobs or are in coaching or in major league front offices. And that’s OK. We don’t expect them to fess up, just don’t condemn other players.
“What bothers me is the hypocrites,” Segui said. “I see them on TV sometimes criticizing people who took steroids. I say, ‘What a minute . . . maybe the public doesn’t know what you did, but I know what you did.’ Those are the ones that bother me. Just keep your mouth shut.”
Segui said he took steroids because he started to get injuries and he feared he would lose his job. He saw the landscape changing, players were using, and the choice was do it and keep playing, or don’t and watch his career die.
Segui said it was a time when there was no testing, and in his interpretation there were no rules, even though the collective bargaining agreement indicated that steroids were not allowed.
With no testing, baseball became the Wild Wild West.
So, Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens have been targets of scorn and ridicule, and have been called cheaters. They likely will be denied entry to the Hall of Fame. They are on their own little island. All of their own doing, for sure.
There are players who received big contracts, maybe longer careers, because they used steroids to help with injuries and recovery time, who can walk around town knowing they’ll never be found out.
Who would have the courage to say, “I did steroids while I was a player,” after their career is over? Not many have been willing to do it. If they’re currently a coach, a manager, a TV analyst, or are being inducted into the Hall of Fame, nobody is going to risk that to admit they were just as guilty as A-Rod or Bonds.
That’s human nature. Just don’t throw stones.
Remember that list of 103 players from 2009? I was told I’d be shocked to find out who made the list. I was told some ex-players who protested the loudest of how they never took PEDs are lying through their teeth when they say they weren’t on anything.
Do I know the names? Only rumors. A list of the 103 players was published in some circles after a leak, but it was unconfirmed.
Who knows? Maybe the list, which included eight Red Sox, was accurate.
“I certainly know the guys who did it when I played, and I can even identify the guys who still do it now,” Segui said. “The big neck, the puffy face. I can tell by how they look.”
David Ortiz was on that list. He won’t say much about the unfairness regarding the names that weren’t revealed, except to say, “That’s the way it is. Nothing I can do about it.”
It seems like the greatest players — guys who have Hall of Fame talent anyway — take the hit for everyone else.
The strength Segui received from PEDs never spiked his home run total. There are players who took them that never made it because they didn’t have the talent.
A-Rod and Bonds still had to hit the ball. Clemens still had to throw quality pitches to win seven Cy Youngs. It made them strong. It made them able to recover from injuries and the daily grind of baseball quicker.
“It came to a certain point that if you weren’t doing something you were jeopardizing your career,” Segui said. “You were giving somebody else a foothold to take your job. I worked way too hard, no way I’m losing my job. If people don’t like that, they have a right to think that way. I don’t complain when people say I did this or that. I was in the gym three hours a day in season. Nobody else did that. I didn’t take any shortcuts. But if you did it, you had to be accountable and know that at some point you might get found out. If they wanted steroids out of the game they should had rules and testing and penalties like they have now.”
Segui would love to be a major league hitting coach, but he’s been too frank about his PED use.
A poster child for the steroid era, Mark McGwire, has been employed as a hitting coach. Segui knows there are many former steroid users working in baseball.
“People talk about morals and character and you have players who cheated on their wives every night, snorted coke, took amphetamines, steroids, you name it,” Segui said. “So, when I get to the Pearly Gates, if the worst thing I did was put something in my body to help me get through a baseball season late in my career when there was no testing or rules, I like my chances.”
Grading some moves from the offseason
A look at five offseason deals and whether they’re working out:
1. Cardinals righthander Shelby Miller (and Tyrell Jenkins) to the Braves for outfielder Jason Heyward (and Jordan Walden) — Miller is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA over six starts. According to Elias, over the last 90 years only three Braves sported lower ERAs over their first six starts. Heyward is struggling at .241 with only two homers and six RBIs. Walden is out for two months with a strained right shoulder. Advantage: Braves.
2. Tigers righthander Rick Porcello to the Red Sox for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (and Alex Wilson and Gabe Speier) — This is the proverbial “trade that worked out for both teams.” Porcello was a pitcher the Tigers didn’t want to sign to a long-term deal after a poor September, and Cespedes wasn’t going to re-sign with Boston. Porcello is 3-2 with a 4.38 ERA and Cespedes is hitting .278 with four homers and 17 RBIs. Advantage: Even.
3. Marlins righthander Nathan Eovaldi (and Garrett Jones and Domingo German) to the Yankees for third baseman Martin Prado (and David Phelps). Didn’t like this deal at first because Prado (.301/2/14/.742) is such a good player and would have solidified second base (over Stephen Drew, who can’t seem to get his offense going) for the Yankees. But the Yankees are pleased with Eovaldi’s big arm (3-0. 3.97 ERA), though Phelps has made three straight quality starts for the Marlins. Advantage: Marlins.
4. Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson to the Blue Jays for third baseman Brett Lawrie (and Franklin Barreto, Sean Nolin, and Kendall Graveman) — Donaldson (.308/7/19/.921) continues to be one of the best sub-30-year-old players in baseball and has added a nice dimension to the Jays’ lineup. Lawrie (.267/2/14/.657) also has played well, but not with Donaldson’s production. Graveman went 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA before being sent down. Advantage: Blue Jays.
5. Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp (and Tim Federowicz) to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal (and Zach Eflin and Joe Wieland) — Kemp had only one homer going into Saturday but was hitting .288 with 19 RBIs and a .731 OPS. Grandal is coming off an eight-RBI night and is hitting .307 with four homers, 13 RBIs, and a .944 OPS. Advantage: Dodgers.
Apropos of nothing
1. Classy Juan Nieves took the sword. The Don Cooper protege preached all of the right things as Red Sox pitching coach.
2. With the Red Sox firing Nieves and the Brewers firing manager Ron Roenicke, you can see that underperforming teams are beginning to make changes. Who could be next? The Mariners and A’s are also underperforming. When Texas general manager Jon Daniels hinted he may make changes after an 8-16 start, the Rangers swept the red-hot Astros.
3. Sometimes you wonder how the Giants do it. But they’re doing it again after a slow start.
4. The Mariners were prohibitive favorites to win the American League West, and many believed Jack Zduriencik’s offseason moves would get them to the World Series. Not so much. Zduriencik says he won’t panic, but other than Felix Hernandez and Nelson Cruz, there isn’t much to root for right now. After a heartbreaking Super Bowl and the Mariners’ poor start after so much hope, there’s a grim outlook in Seattle.
5. One of the best passages of the Pedro Martinez book written by the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman is the one where Martinez blames himself for Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS but still said Grady Little made a mistake leaving him in. As time goes by, I disagree with Pedro. He was the best pitcher, by far, in the stadium that night.
6. Speaking of books, former Patriot Ledger colleague Dick Trust has written “Ted Williams and Friends: 1960-2002,” from Arcadia Publishing. The 96-page book covers the Splendid Splinter from the dramatic home run he hit in his last at-bat Sept. 28, 1960, to his death on July 5, 2002, and on to the celebration of his life 17 days later at Fenway Park.
7. It amazes me how teams run away from hiring Rick Peterson, the smartest pitching coach out there.
Updates on nine
1. Scott Kazmir, LHP, A’s — “Tick, tick, tick,” one AL GM said in response to whether he thinks Kazmir might be traded before the deadline. “Sure. If Oakland can’t hang in, Billy [Beane] will flip him for prospects. He’s actually an interesting name. All you hear about is [David] Price, [Jordan] Zimmermann, [Johnny] Cueto, but that’s a pretty good name right there.” Kazmir, 31, is 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA in six starts after going 15-9, 3.55 last season. Kazmir is not expected to be as costly as the others. He could be a Red Sox target.
2. Aaron Harang, RHP, Phillies — We’ve mentioned Harang as another possible fit for a contending team. According to a major league source, inquiries on him have picked up and teams are scouting him as a possible solution. Obviously not an ace, but he fits the back end of a lot of rotations. “He gives you a steady, dependable performance, “ said one NL scout. “You don’t give up a lot for him, but if you can get him for a second-level prospect, you do it.”
3. Matt Garza, RHP, Brewers — Another intriguing starter who could help a contender. The Brewers already are bordering on being out of it, so a fire sale could begin way ahead of the trading deadline. Garza is a name to watch, as is Kyle Lohse.
4. Corey Kluber, RHP, Indians — So, what’s up with last year’s AL Cy Young winner? Nobody wants to call him a one-hit wonder or a fluke. It may be as simple as he’s a slow starter. Kluber, 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA last season, has started 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA. After six starts this year, Kluber was 0-4 with a 4.62 ERA and averages of 10.2 hits, 2.1 walks, and 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings. After six starts last year, he was 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA and averages of 11.2 hits, 2.4 walks, and 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Hitters have adjusted to him, and now he needs to adjust again.
5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Diamondbacks — Nobody understands what happened to Salty in Miami. The Marlins scouted him quite a bit in 2013 and felt they had the right guy based on his ability to handle the Sox’ championship season. But one Marlins official said Saltalamacchia’s hitting deteriorated and he couldn’t seem to get it back. The Marlins bought into the 40-plus doubles and 20-something homers, and that never materialized, while his catching suffered. He was described by one Marlins official as “not the guy we signed up for.” And so Saltalamacchia, one of the great people in the game, gets another shot to find it at hitter-friendly Chase Field. “I just want to get back playing again,” he said last week. “I know what I can do. I have to go out and show it.”
6. Christian Vazquez, C, Red Sox — The worst fear the Red Sox have is that when Vazquez recovers from Tommy John surgery, will he still have his explosive throwing arm? Tommy John surgery for catchers is relatively new. Baltimore’s Matt Wieters, who also had a good arm, has not yet been able to recover from his surgery.
7. Casey McGehee, 3B, Giants — Lots of consternation in San Francisco considering Pablo Sandoval’s replacement. In his first 21 games, McGehee hit .181. Last season, Sandoval hit .165 in his first 21 games.
8. Rafael Soriano, RHP, free agent — Teams have been waiting for the price to come down, and it appears it’s getting closer to where a few teams can afford it. Soriano likely won’t get a big number but perhaps a way to make money with incentives. Agent Scott Boras said he’s getting closer with “a few teams.”
9. Ervin Santana, RHP, Twins — The Twins hope to stay in contention until Santana returns from an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test. He will be allowed to go on a rehab assignment ahead of his return date. The Twins are one of the surprise teams in the AL, with manager Paul Molitor drawing rave reviews, and they would also love to get Phil Hughes clicking like last season. With Santana joining an effective staff and lineup, it could be a nice summer in Minneapolis.
From the Bill Chuck files — “In Michael Brantley’s first 20 games for the Tribe this season, he swung and missed only five times.” . . . Also, “Red Sox pitchers’ batting average against in 2013: .248; in 2014: .260; this season: .263.” . . . Happy birthday, Brayan Villarreal (28), Edward Mujica (31), George Kottaras (32), Pete Schourek (46), and Ray Jarvis (69).Nick Cafardo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo. Material from interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.