Skip to content

Is Josh Hamilton losing weight a sign of … something?

Feb 14, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT

Josh Hamilton

I’ll preface all of this by saying that the author of the piece I am about to link, Jeff Pearlman, is fully aware that he’s throwing something of a bomb here.  That said, unlike some others people, I do not believe Pearlman is throwing a bomb for the sake of throwing a bomb. He’s not being cute or coy here and he fully acknowledges the limits of his knowledge. These are simply questions which genuinely occur to him and, whether you agree with him or not, he isn’t afraid to ask them.

He also knows fully well that I and a lot of other people are going to have a problem with this. Indeed, I talked to him online after I read it late this morning and he knows fully well that I’m gonna take issue with it. Indeed, I’ve taken enough issue with Pearlman over the years that he and have come to talk on occasion about these sorts of things, and while they haven’t done much to bridge the pretty large gap we have when it comes to PEDs in baseball, it is enough to give me comfort that he’s not just trolling and that when Pearlman does throw bombs it’s because he believes in what he’s saying, not because he simply wants to create chaos. You can decide for yourself if you think that’s worth anything, but it means at least a little something to me.

With all of that said, let’s get down to brass tacks: Pearlman looks at Josh Hamilton’s 20 pound weight loss this offseason with suspicion:

First, to be clear: I don’t know if Josh Hamilton used PEDs. I’d long assumed he hadn’t, because the idea of an ex-drug addict taking, well, drugs didn’t make much sense to me … And yet …in the modern era of baseball, with all we know and all we’ve seen and all the recent news concerning Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Braun and numerous others, well … I’m just not so sure we can continue to take reports like this at face value … I don’t know if Hamilton’s using. I really don’t. But one must be skeptical.

Pearlman offers examples of curious weight gain and weight loss — Pudge Rodriguez’s weight loss maybe being the most memorable example for all of us — and my inference from this anyway is that there is suspicion to be had about Josh Hamilton it’s that he lost a lot of weight just as scrutiny and testing is being ratcheted up again.

His ultimate end: for someone to ask Hamilton and others “the hard questions” about such things. I’m not sure what the hard question is. I’m not sure why weight loss is a sufficient predicate for a question and/or accusation of PED use. As we note with silliness all spring, lots of players yo-yo in weight. Are we supposed to ask them all these “hard questions?”

Heck, it’s not even about giving someone the benefit of the doubt. It’s about what in the hell is supposed to create doubt in the first place. In the past people have looked at all sorts of things to create that doubt, and half the time it’s silly. Home run totals, without reference to park size or expansion. Head size, as if we are able to measure such a thing. Back acne as if it can only be caused by steroids. Failure to prove negatives, which is something only baseball writers seem to think is an acceptable expectation. Acting out in anger as if all anger = ‘roid rage. With Pearlman, it’s weight fluctuation. That’s not enough to say anything with certainty, he says. But it’s enough to prompt more questions. We are required he says — we must! — be skeptical.

I simply can’t buy that. At some point you have to assume that the game has a strong testing program and, barring something actually indicative of PED use, take its negative results at face value. Weight loss isn’t doing it for me. I’m not sure who else besides Pearlman it should actually do it for.

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Mookie Betts robs Jacoby Ellsbury of extra bases with leaping catch

    Aug 1, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    mookie betts

    Not bad for a guy who has mostly played second base in pro ball.

  2. Carlos Gonzalez exits game after aggravating ankle injury

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT

    Carlos Gonzalez AP AP

    Carlos Gonzalez sprained his ankle last Saturday and he aggravated the injury tonight while making a sliding catch.

  3. John Lackey intends to honor contract and pitch at major league minimum salary in 2015

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:27 PM EDT

    John Lackey AP AP

    John Lackey will pitch at the major league minimum next season due to a clause in his contract.

  4. Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t expect Matt Cain to pitch again this year

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

    Matt Cain AP AP

    Matt Cain hasn’t made a decision on elbow surgery, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn’t expect him to pitch again this year.

  5. Brewers scratch Jimmy Nelson from Saturday’s start due to a “blister”

    Aug 1, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT

    Brewers logo

    The Brewers have scratched rookie right-hander Jimmy Nelson from Saturday’s start, but it mostly looks like a convenient excuse to manipulate their rotation this weekend.

  6. Brett Lawrie begins minor league rehab assignment tonight

    Aug 1, 2014, 7:05 PM EDT

    Brett Lawrie AP AP

    Brett Lawrie has been sidelined since June 22 due to a broken right index finger.

  7. Matt Harvey throws off mound for first time since Tommy John surgery

    Aug 1, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    Matt Harvey Getty Getty Images

    Mets right-hander Matt Harvey threw off a mound today for this first time since he underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery on his right elbow last October.

  8. Marlins place Henderson Alvarez on the disabled list

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    henderson alvarez getty Getty Images

    Henderson Alvarez has followed up last year’s no-hitter by being one of the best pitchers in the National League this season, but the Marlins have placed the 24-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

  9. Orioles sign Joe Saunders

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:19 PM EDT

    saunders getty Getty Images

    Earlier this week the Royals became the fourth team to release Joe Saunders this season and the 33-year-old left-hander has already found a fifth organization, signing a minor-league deal with the Orioles.

  10. Gammons: the Pirates may have made an offer for David Price that was “greater in terms of talent”

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:03 PM EDT

    Division Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Getty Images

    But the determining factor was likely the Rays’ belief that they can contend in 2015.

  11. Austin Jackson’s arrival in Seattle pushes James Jones back to the minors

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    James Jones Mariners AP

    James Jones has been the Mariners’ starting center fielder since making his MLB debut in mid-April, logging more than 300 plate appearances, but now the 25-year-old is headed back to Triple-A following yesterday’s trade for Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson.

  12. See your team’s logo Star Wars-ized

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:32 PM EDT

    Click Here large

    Apologies if the team you root for got a prequel logo. Braves got Boba Fett, though, so I’m happy.

  13. Cardinals demote Carlos Martinez to Triple-A

    Aug 1, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Colorado Rockies v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

    Carlos Martinez is no longer needed in St. Louis’ rotation following trades for Justin Masterson and John Lackey, but rather than shifting him back to the bullpen the Cardinals have decided to send the 22-year-old right-hander to Triple-A.

  14. Red Sox designate Mike Carp for assignment

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Mike Carp AP

    Mike Carp reportedly requested a trade from the Red Sox last week, but after failing to find a taker before yesterday’s deadline they’ve designated him for assignment.

  15. HBT Daily: Winners and losers at the trade deadline

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    HBT Daily Logo

    We won’t really know for sure for some time, but for now let us offer knee jerk reactions!

  16. Angels place Tyler Skaggs on the disabled list

    Aug 1, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

    Tyler Skaggs Getty Getty Images

    Tyler Skaggs exited Thursday’s start in the fifth inning with forearm tightness and now the Angels have placed the 22-year-old left-hander on the disabled list.

  17. A’s release Jim Johnson, eat $10 million salary

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT

    Jim Johnson A's AP

    Johnson saved 50-plus games in each of the previous two seasons, leading the league both years, but this season he posted a 6.92 ERA in 38 appearances for the A’s while almost immediately being stripped of closing duties.

  18. Jose Bautista, Casey Janssen “frustrated” and “disappointed” by Blue Jays’ lack of trade deadline activity

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Jose Bautista Jose Bautista

    Toronto was 38-24 and in first place by six games on June 6, but the Blue Jays have gone 22-26 since then and general manager Alex Anthopoulos did nothing at the trade deadline yesterday.

  19. Empty Yesterday: Kansas City’s trade deadline day

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Dayton Moore, David Glass Getty Images

    The Royals just had an infuriating trade deadline day.

Featured video

A's, Tigers big winners at trade deadline
Top 10 MLB Player Searches