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Well, at least a little bit.

In an interview with the LA Times, Kent called for the Major Leagues to begin blood testing and to initiate testing during the playoffs. Kent told TJ Simers:

“I’d like to see every player take a blood test and have the samples frozen,” Kent says, then waiting for the day when there’s a foolproof HGH test to identify the cheaters.

“Not everyone in the game is using HGH, but I would bet it still is being abused,” he says. “Why not have blood tests? If ultimately you want a clean game, then it needs to happen.

“They ought to be testing for drugs in the playoffs too. They never do that.”

Kent also called out some of his fellow players for their lame confessions:

“The Mitchell Report is probably just 1% of those who have cheated in the game. It gives a very small sampling of what was going on.

“Now we’re hearing about some guys who cheat and the phony excuses like I got hurt, so I just used HGH one time. Whether they are telling the truth or not, people are finally having to answer to some things.”

Kent has generally been a clubhouse cancer and an ass wherever he has gone (even though his assholishness seemed like a mere drop in the ocean when he played alongside Barry Bonds) , so these are pretty much the first words that have come out of his mouth that I agree with.

I’m not sure if this is just Jeff Kent looking ahead to his own Hall of Fame eligibility and thinking strategically. I mean, if he says things like this, he MUST have been clean, right? Yet it is easy for Kent to say these kinds of things at the very end of his career, a career in which he had a late-blooming, mid-30s power surge of his own.

But for now I’m going to give Kent the benefit of the doubt. Because these are words that need to be said, and I’m glad somebody is saying them. The vast collusion by the players to not talk about performance enhancing drugs and not rat out other players completely hamstrung the Mitchell report outside of the Randomski ring evidence, and is a massive roadblock to the game coming clean and moving forward.

Jeff Kent’s mild and vague criticism of his fellow players and his calls for testing when he is virtually past the point where it would affect him is only a start. But we need to do whatever we can to encourage more players to throw their support behind cleaning up the game, and even if that means I have to throw some love at no less than Jeff Kent, I’ll suck it up and give him some props. For the good of the game.

6 Responses to “FINALLY, after all these years, a reason to like Jeff Kent”

  1. Nick Kapur says:

    This will surprise no one, but I completely disagree with Coley.

    First of all, Coley pulled off a bit of sleight-of-the-hand there when he talked about how the Astros are going from an infield of Adam Everett, Ty Wigginton, and Mark Loretta, to an infield of Miguel Tejada, Kaz Matsui, “not to mention Lance Berkman.” This makes it almost sound like Wiggenton got replaced by Lance Berkman. But Lance Berkman was on the old infield too, and last time I checked Wigginton is still pencilled in to be the starting 3B next season.

    So basically, Loretta and Everett got traded out for Matsui and Tejada. Is this really such a good thing? I think not. Tejada’s skills have been eroding across the board (since he stopped jucing?), but nothing has eroded more than his defense at shortstop. Meanwhile, Adam Everett was the second best defensive shortstop in the National League last season, behind only Tulowitzki, and can be conservatively expected to save something like 35 runs with his defense over a full season.

    When the Astros brought Tejada over, I thought it was a bad idea, but I figured, at least this means they can put Tejada at 3B and get rid of Wigginton, who provides scant offense and is horrible on defense. Everett at short and Tejada at third would actually be a pretty awesome leftside defense. But instead, Wade didn’t even offer Everett a contract, and he promptly signed with the Twikies. So the Astros, with that one decision, instantly went from having a potentially awesome leftside defense to having one of the worst defensive left sides in the league. And for what? Is Ty Wigginton’s scant offensive contribution worth the huge loss on defense? Is Ty Wigginton’s offensive contribution even that much more than Everett’s? I think the answer to these questions is clearly, no.

    Finally, we come to Wade’s and Coley’s shared overevaluation of Kaz Matsui. Coley includes Matsui in what he calls “a solid group, at least offensively.” But that’s ridiculous. Matsui is exactly the same player who sucked so terribly on offense as a Met. You can slice the numbers any which way and you still have to come to the conclusion that Matsui’s “comeback” in Colorado was entirely due to the effects of playing in Coors field. Now the Astros’ park (whatever it’s called nowadays) is a hitter’s ballpark, whereas Shea was a pitcher’s park, but there is still going to be a huge dropoff in Matsui’s offense, and I don’t think it’s possible to say that signing Matsui was anything other than a bad idea.

    Suffice to say, unless Wade pulls off several genius moves in a row over the next few weeks, I don’t think anyone has to “watch out for the Astros.”

  2. Matsui hit .249 outside of Coors Field last season, expect his numbers to be close to that at the “Juice Box” even though it’s homer friendly. Jim Hendry was interested in signing him for the Cubs and as a fan I was relieved to see him go to the Astros. I fail to see how he’s going to be much of an upgrade for them.
    I agree with Nick that they would have been much better off keeping Everett at short and putting Tejada at 3rd. Everett doesn’t get much notice because of his offensive numbers but he’s absolutely stellar defensively.
    After Oswalt the Astros don’t have a single starter from last season that won over 10 games or had an ERA under 4.5. Good luck to them with Woody Williams & Wandy Rodriguez. Their defense has gotten weaker and they have failed to bolster their biggest weakness from 07, starting pitching. What good does Valverde do them if they don’t have the guys that can get the ball to him? Qualls would have been a really nice set-up man in front of him. He’s not as valuable without a solid 8th inning guy in front of him.
    You also have to wonder if Berkman is on the decline offensively. He hit 11 less homers this past season, his batting average was the lowest and strikeouts the highest since his rookie season. He had Carlos Lee hitting behind him, so he may be having a decline similar to Tejada.
    Unless they acquire a quality starter or 2 don’t look for them to overtake the Cubs or the Brewers. They finished 4th last season and look primed to compete with the Reds for 3rd in 08.

  3. I don’t think that even the Astros would disagree that putting Tejada at 3rd would be better. Something must have happened that we don’t know about. Either the Stros were afraid to ask Miggy to switch, or they did and he said no. I can’t imagine anyone taking Wigginton’s bat at 3rd over Everett’s glove at SS.

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Paul, I don’t think the Astros every even considered asking Tejada to switch. In fact, I don’t think the idea of putting him at third was even considered. At least, there was absolutely zero discussion of it, when the trade was announced. I think Ed Wade really is that dumb that it never occured to him.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    Jeff Kent does it with sunflower seeds.

  6. Paul Moro says:

    When I had heard about his comments, my initial thought was “Oh come on… Don’t make me have to rally behind Jeff Kent…”

    Even so, the manner in which he said it is still pretty douchey.

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