MLB backs Bosch into a corner
Major League Baseball's power play against Biogenesis worked to a tee as it's . Now MLB will seek to suspend those involved with the clinic for up to 100 games, as first reported by ESPN on Tuesday.
Dead in the water without a way to acquire records from both the clinic and the Miami New Times, who claimed to have documents which linked Melky Cabrera, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz to the operation, MLB decided to file a lawsuit against the clinic's owner/operator, Anthony Bosch, and his partners Carlos Acevedo, Ricardo Martinez, Marcelo Albir and Paulo da Silveira. Then they waited for the under pressure operators to fold and do a deal to climb out of the legal jungle they landed in. It couldn't have gone any better for MLB, who seem to be on a mission to rid the game of performance enhancing drugs, taking even further steps to procure information to Federal Express, AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA in their bid to gain records for its investigation of players suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Perhaps Bosch could have held out longer had A-Rod chipped in to help the financially tapped Bosch, but the Yankees third baseman chose not to according to the
"A-Rod refused to pay him what he wanted," the source told the New York tabloid. "Baseball was worried about that."
Rodriguez released a statement on Thursday:
Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded. I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our Basic Agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate.
As I have said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship. I am down here doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I'm back playing.
Ryan Braun, sometimes known as for his escape from punishment following a positive test back in December of 2011, said on Tuesday:
"I'm not answering any further questions regarding the whole situation. I've dealt with it for a long time and aside from that, I don't have anything further to say."
Any suspensions are far from a done deal despite the relentless pursuit of those who allegedly took PED's by Commissioner Bud Selig and company. What kind of a witness Bosch would be is uncertain, although you could certainly argue that he's far from credible, Either way, than just Bosch testimony, which is more bad news for offenders of the drug policy.
Still, anyone who has followed Major League Baseball knows that the Players Union is one of most powerful groups in the country, and if anything is done haphazardly or not to the letter of the collective bargaining agreement, rest assured they will protect their players with force. Having said that, the drug program which is currently in place is a "joint program" between and the MLBPA, so it will be interesting to watch this all unfold. Perhaps the most curious element of this is the timetable for any possible suspensions - would this process be completed during the offseason? Or could any suspensions be handed out earlier which would have an enormous impact on playoff races around baseball?
Like pennies from heaven, Yasiel Puig dropped down from high above the hills of Chavez Ravine and instantly turned what was an injury riddled, blue season of Dodger baseball into something more. It's way too early to tell just what Puig's presence will mean in the end, but you can only imagine the joy that was feeling as the young Cuban took to the field and promptly began pummeling San Diego Padres pitchers to a pulp (he also may have been wondering where he has been for the last two months). The 22-year-old made his debut Monday with two hits in the Dodgers 2-1 win, ending the game with his best , doubling up Chris Denorfia at first base from way out in right field. It got even better, a lot better the next night.
Two home runs, one to left, one to right, five RBI in LA's come from behind 9-7 victory. "Havana Cuba has arrived" proclaimed Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully. Another voice of the Dodgers (but not the voice), Charlie Steiner, wondered aloud, "Who's writing this script?!" with a dose of enthusiasm that can only come from someone who has been watching a team muddle around for two months. It was a historic two days for the rookie, one that resulted in two victories. Unsustainable play of course, and he came down to earth in the series finale with an 0-4 effort. Then he shot right back up to whatever planet he came from on Thursday, lofting a grand slam against Atlanta as Dodgers beat the Braves 5-0 for their third win in four games. Pitchers will eventually adjust to the kid from Cienfuegos, but for now, Dodgers fans are enjoying that very fresh breath of air that is Yasiel Puig.
Brown bagging it
Just when you thought the Angels were turning the corner they're right back in the that is their 2013 season. The Halos won eight straight, split the freeway series against the Dodgers, and then ran into the buzzsaw known as the Houston Astros. Anaheim were swept by a team that came into their series with 17 measly wins and a payroll of $24m, and in their own ballpark to boot. It's no wonder some fans are afraid to show their faces - on Tuesday, Halos fan Henry Bouldin that read "$127 million [the Angels payroll] + all I got was this bag. Go Angels?". The team insists that it's just policy to not allow covered heads in the stadium and that it would have been the same if it just said "Go Angels" - I think I actually believe them. Larry Brown Sports reported that last week a fan wearing a monkey suit was asked to remove his mask. This makes me wonder what would happen if a Muslim fan came to the ballpark wearing a burqa or niqab, but that's a probably a discussion for another time.
The point is, this team stinks, and have stunk for quite some time. They owe Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton and even their manager Mike Scioscia a lot of money for many years to come, and it's time to panic. Consider this - the is just one of many ordinary players who are outproducing both of those former behemoths by big chunks. Duda has a .792 OPS and is making $519,240 this season compared to the $16m Pujols is being paid for a .732 OPS (down from .859 last season) and the $17m Hamilton is getting for his .660 OPS (down from .930 last season). Those numbers are breathtaking, and there's no sign right now of them improving. Despite Mike Trout's best efforts , the teams overall pitching and hitting numbers indicate that they are an average team at best and their record is even worse than that. Baseball fans have been watching and waiting LA and their massive payroll to turn it around for what seems like forever, and they are going to wait some more.
Dodging draft day
I know that Major League Baseball is trying to turn the amateur draft into a relevant event but, well, it's just not for me - certainly not on a night when the in Game One of the NBA Finals. MLB Network has pulled out all the stops, again, trying to convince us that if we don't sink our teeth into the draft then there is no way we call ourselves baseball fans. Don't worry, if you can't recite the first three picks of the draft you won't lose your fan license, I promise.
Still, without a draft, there would be no players from Canada or the USA, which includes the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and any other Commonwealth, Territory or Possession of the United States of America, and so, it is important, you can't argue that. Incidentally, just days before the draft, it was decided by MLB and the MLBPA (who both must agree on the terms) that there would be no draft for international players in 2014 or at least until after the current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1st 2016. Latino players lobbied to not have a draft citing the since the Commonwealth's players became eligible for the draft in 1990. MLB has been determined to install an international draft, feeling that it would help stamp out some of the corruption rife in the development of young players in countries such as the Dominican Republic. Now teams will be allocated with a dollar value based on their record to sign international players with the worst teams being allocated the most money to spend.
The Astros had the first draft pick last season, (who is, guess what, Puerto Rican), and had the top pick again in 2013. Correa is doing well down in A-ball, one reason why the Astros organization has posted a 137-98 record, the best combined record of minor league affiliates in all of baseball. That only figures to improve with the arrival of Stanford pitcher , a pitcher they considered drafting instead of Correa a season ago. Since he could not agree to a deal with the Pirates after being selected by Pittsburgh, Houston had a second shot at drafting the right hander this time around and they got their man. If you need more than a few lines of draft coverage, you can
In his first full season following Tommy John surgery, Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo in order to protect him from another arm injury and set him up for long term health. Now every time Strasburg is injured, regardless of whether or not he suffers an arm ailment or something else, like, say the strained muscle in his back which , Rizzo is going to be plowing through second guessing stories where the theme is something like "see, I told you it was stupid." Whether Rizzo was right or wrong in taking that serious precaution, one that could have, at least in theory, kept his team from advancing to the 2012 NLCS, is hard to say. One thing we do know is that this sort of repetitive analysis is annoying for Strasburg, who is already prickly around the media. It's also , who are under the microscope in their first year of playing under high expectations. This season hasn't been as good to the Nats - a year ago they were 10 games over .500 with a two game lead in the NL East, and - the doubts are slowly creeping in.
Now their ace pitcher joins the other franchise cornerstone on the sidelines - Bryce Harper is on his way to about that swollen left knee, the opposite of good news. My two cents, and you've read this before in this space (and you will likely read it again) so apologies for any repetition - anytime you have a chance to win a World Series you try to win a World Series because , regardless of how stacked you think your organization is.