Biogenesis Rumors

NL West Notes: Mattingly, Cabrera, Young Jr.

The red-hot Dodgers suffered just their third loss of the second half last night and have expanded their lead on the NL West to five games over the second-place Diamondbacks. Here's the latest out of the division…

  • It's easy to forget what a dreadful situation the Dodgers were in just two short months ago, but manager Don Mattingly offered a reminder when speaking to reporters, including Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Mattingly said that team president Stan Kasten approached him and told him that they would have to let him go if things didn't turn around. There was plenty of speculation back in May regarding Mattingly's job security, but this is the first that either side has acknowledged how close he may have come to getting fired.
  • Suspended Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera gave an emotional, bilingual speech to his teammates, apologizing to them behind closed doors prior to Monday's game, writes MLB.com's Jamal Collier. Collier adds that Cabrera took a banned substance in the spring of 2012 to help heal a shoulder injury at the advice of former ACES employee Juan Nunez  – the same employee who was reportedly behind Melky Cabrera's web site scandal.
  • Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes that former Rockies outfielder Eric Young Jr. has no ill feelings towards Colorado after being traded to the Mets earlier this season. "I’m more appreciative they made the move they did, because I wouldn’t be in this situation if they didn’t," Young told reporters on Tuesday. Young has been outstanding with the Mets, hitting .270/.350/.362 with a home run (of the walk-off variety) and 15 steals in 19 attempts.

Peralta’s Future With Tigers Likely Tied To Iglesias’

Jhonny Peralta has been a member of the Tigers since the Indians dealt him to Detroit near the trade deadline in 2010. But after receiving a 50-game suspension Monday for his ties to the Biogenesis scandal, Peralta's future with the Tigers organization is in question.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski was vague when asked Monday about Peralta's role going forward, John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press writes. When asked whether Peralta would return to the club to play in the last few games of the regular season and in the playoffs, Dombrowski said, "That’s down the road. That’s two months. I think I’ve spoken enough about that."

The Tigers' recent acquisition of Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox would surely seem to have at least some impact on the team's plans for Peralta. Iglesias will start at shortstop in Peralta's absence, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports hears (via Twitter) that if Iglesias performs well, Peralta's tenure with the Tigers could be over. "Early sense I get is that if Iglesias does well at shortstop, Tigers might not want Peralta back. We'll see," Knobler writes.

For 2014 and beyond, if not for the end of the 2013 season, it makes sense that Peralta's fate would be tied to Iglesias'. Peralta (who had been set to make $6MM in 2013) becomes a free agent this winter, whereas Iglesias is not eligible for free agency until after 2018. Iglesias won't even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2015 season, and while he isn't the typical zero-to-three player (he can't receive more than a 20% pay cut in 2014 on his $2.06MM 2013 salary), he'll be awfully cheap for at least two more years.

So if Iglesias performs capably down the stretch, there's no room for Peralta in Detroit, as least not as a starting shortstop. There's the possibility that the Tigers could re-sign Peralta and use him at third base, but that seems like a stretch — Miguel Cabrera is a poor fielder there, but with Prince Fielder at first base and Victor Martinez (who's signed through 2014) at designated hitter, it will be tough for the Tigers to move him. With Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago set to become free agents, it might also be possible for the the Tigers to re-sign Peralta and use Iglesias at second base.

With Peralta about to hit free agency and with a 50-game suspension ahead of him, however, it might be jumping the gun to even consider such scenarios. Knobler's take seems fairly likely to be true — if Iglesias doesn't perform, the Tigers might have a need for Peralta, but if Iglesias does, Peralta's future with the Tigers will become very murky. It's far from certain that Iglesias will hit, however, and Peralta, with his .305/.361/.461 performance in 2013, will likely be a sought-after free agent, even with a PED suspension on his record.


Looking At Everth Cabrera’s Suspension

Earlier today, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was one of 12 players to accept a 50-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis PED investigation. The Padres have exactly 50 games remaining this season, so they will lose their 26-year-old shortstop for the remainder of the 2013 campaign. The Padres issued the following statement on the Biogenesis suspensions:

“The Padres fully support Major League Baseball's policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. The club will continue to stand behind the Commissioner’s Office to ensure the integrity of baseball.”

Cabrera is in the midst of the finest season of his career, hitting .283/.355/.381 with four homers and an NL-best 37 stolen bases. That stolen base lead comes in spite of a trip to the 15-day DL earlier this season and comes on the heels of his league-leading 44 swipes in 2012 (despite playing just 115 games). 

How does the suspension impact Cabrera's future, though? The Nicaragua native is earning $1.275MM this season after his first venture into arbitration in the 2012-13 offseason. As such, the financial penalty for Cabrera isn't nearly as steep as it is for other players. He'll lose roughly $383K in salary this year as a result of his suspension.

Because he's still going year-to-year through arbitration, however, Cabrera's suspension carries major financial implications for his future. The arbitration process heavily rewards counting statistics, and Cabrera will lose nearly one-third of his opportunities to accumulate those precious stats because of this discipline. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz now projects Cabrera to earn $2.2MM in 2014. Swartz had originally projected Cabrera to earn $2.9MM next season, assuming he would have lived up to his ZiPS rest-of-season projection and finished with a .276 average, five homers, 42 RBIs and 50 stolen bases. All in all, this suspension figures to cost Cabrera roughly $1.083MM in salary from 2013-14 — no small sum for a player who has earned less than $2MM to date throughout his big league career.

The financial implications may not stop there, either. Cabrera entered the season with two years, 144 days of service time. Numerous shortstops — some of whom are solid comparables for Cabrera — have inked long-term deals at this point in their careers. As MLBTR's Extension Tracker shows, Elvis Andrus (three years, $14.4MM) and Alcides Escobar (four years, $10.5MM) signed long-term deals with between two and three years of service time. When I asked Padres GM Josh Byrnes how this disciplinary measure would impact the club's thoughts regarding a long-term deal for Cabrera on a conference call this afternoon, he offered the following response:

"Well, a lot of players over time have been disciplined. I think we'll know a few more facts as we go. You know, we control him for a few more years through the arbitration process. I think we'll sort of evaluate as we go, but I wouldn't foresee a long-term deal until we know more."

It will be interesting to see how the Padres handle Cabrera going forward. It's also worth noting that Cabrera isn't the only young Padres player to serve a suspension in the past year. Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games following the 2012 season and later connected to the Biogenesis clinic. He missed the first 50 games of 2013 but was not disciplined further, as MLB ruled that he had already served his punishment with that previous suspension. Fautino De Los Santos, however, was also one of the 12 players earlier today who accepted a 50-game suspension.



MLB Officially Announces Biogenesis Suspensions

After months of speculation, we have some finality for a dozen of the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal.  Major League Baseball has officially announced 50-game suspensions for Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Antonio Bastardo, Jesus Montero, Francisco Cervelli, Jordany Valdespin, Fautino De Los Santos, Jordan Norberto, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez and Sergio Escalona.

All of those players will accept their suspensions, while Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended for 211 games (effective Aug. 8), will appeal his suspension and be eligible to play until that process is complete.

The suspensions carry particular weight for the Rangers and Tigers. The Rangers, who are 2.5 games back of the A's in the AL West and just a half-game behind the Indians for a Wild Card berth, will lose their starting right-fielder and club home run leader in Cruz for the remainder of the regular season.

The Tigers will lose Peralta, their starting shortstop, for the remainder of the season as they look to fend off surging Cleveland and Kansas City clubs and win the American League Central division. Detroit safeguarded itself somewhat against the loss of Perata by acquiring Jose Iglesias in a three-team deal with the White Sox and Red Sox prior to the trade deadline.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to tweet that Cruz would accept his suspension. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first tweeted that Peralta, Cabrera, Bastardo and Valdespin would also accept 50-game bans. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports added Escalona to the list (Twitter link), and Rosenthal reported that Cervelli, Montero, Puello, De Los Santos, Martinez and Norberto would do the same (on Twitter).


Nelson Cruz Leaves ACES; Hires Wasserman Media Group

10:08am: Cruz has hired Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). Katz is the agent for notable players such as Yoenis Cespedes and Bartolo Colon, the latter of whom was suspended for PEDs in 2012.

9:57am: Nelson Cruz has fired agents Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Cruz is one of 13 players expected to accept a 50-game suspension for his connection to the Biogenesis PED investigation today, Heyman adds.

ACES came under fire this past offseason and was investigated by Major League Baseball after another client, Melky Cabrera, was suspended 50 games for PED use. Cabrera and ACES employee Juan Carlos Nunez reportedly tried to cover up the scandal by purchasing Spanish-language web sites to advertise a fictitious product which Cabrera claimed he took, unbeknownst to the fact that it contained synthetic testosterone.

In addition to Cruz and Cabrera, ACES also represents Biogenesis-connected names such as Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and Gio Gonzalez, though the substances purchased by Gonzalez were reportedly legal and he is not believed to be facing a suspension.

Cruz, 33, is hitting .269/.330/.511 with 27 homers this season for the Rangers as they fight to keep pace with division-leading Athletics. Both decisions — parting ways with ACES and accepting a suspension — will impact Cruz's free agency this offseason.


A-Rod, 12 Others To Be Suspended Monday

Alex Rodriguez and 12 other players will be suspended for their involvement with Biogenesis, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Earlier today, we learned Rodriguez is to be suspended through the 2014 season and Heyman names Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli among the Major League players also expected to be suspended, as well as minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto, Fautino de los Santos, and Cesar Puello. Heyman adds there are also three players on the suspension list whose names have yet to become public.

Heyman writes Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A's right-hander Bartolo Colon, and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not be suspended in connection with Biogenesis, as they have served 50-game penalties already. 

All or almost all of the other 12 players are expected to accept 50-game suspensions, though there could be an additional holdout or two for appeal beyond Rodriguez, reports Heyman. All the players have the option to appeal, but it is believed close to all of them have made agreements for 50-game bans with MLB, Heyman adds. Players who appeal are eligible to keep playing until their case is heard.

Cruz told reporters, including MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, "I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything. It's not just about myself, it's also about the team." Today is the 112th game played by the Rangers, so Cruz would be eligible to return for the playoffs (assuming Texas reaches the post-season), if he serves a 50-game suspension beginning Monday. Sullivan surmises the Rangers will recall an outfielder from the minors adding Manny Ramirez is not an option and manager Ron Washington is reluctant to use Jurickson Profar in the outfield. Regardless of what the Rangers end up doing, assistant GM Thad Levine acknowledges, "At this stage of the season, that's a difficult bat to replace."


A-Rod Will Be Suspended Through 2014 Season

Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal, which will enable him to play tomorrow night against the White Sox in Chicago, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told Bob Nightengale of the USA Today. The appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in the next three weeks, according to Nightengale. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets the announcement of the Biogenesis suspensions will take place around 11am CT.

Davidoff also reports MLB is leaning towards only suspending Rodriguez for violating the Joint Drug Agreement, and not the Basic Agreement, allowing for an appeal. A person close to the situation told Davidoff that Commissioner Bud Selig does not want give Rodriguez the sympathy points which would come with suspending him via the "best interests of baseball" clause of the Basic Agreement. Joel Sherman, Davidoff's colleague at the Post, added Selig does not want a court fight with the union, wants to avoid the perception of not allowing Rodriguez due process, and wants to avoid outside noise so people can concentrate on what MLB says is the heart of its case: A-Rod used PEDs for years, lied to MLB serially, and tried in myriad ways to thwart the investigation (all Twitter links). ESPN's Buster Olney tweets this strategy gives Selig the high ground to go to the union and ask for tougher rules. 

Rodriguez is one of about ten Major League players to be suspended tomorrow, but he is the only one who will be banned beyond this season, writes Nightengale. MLB officials have informed Rodriguez's attorneys and the MLBPA of the decision to suspend the players, and told Rodriguez he is no longer able to discuss a settlement, reports Nightengale, who attributes two people unauthorized to speak publicly before the scheduled announcement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted he was told by a person updated on the Biogenesis inquiry that Rodriguez and MLB never were close to a settlement. 

"I'll have an opportunity, when the time is right, to tell my full story," Rodriguez told reporters, including Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press (via Philly.com), last night after a four-walk performance for Double-A Trenton. "I'm excited to play Monday. I can't wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help them win."

Manager Joe Girardi says Rodriguez, if he is in Chicago, will be in the lineup at third base tomorrow night, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.

"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow," Girardi said (as quoted by Nightengale). "I don't suspect it'll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual. I'm sure there will be more media there obviously tomorrow but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it'll be a big deal."

Rodriguez's suspension of at least 214 games would be the longest handed out by baseball to a player or manager since Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1988 for gambling. Rodriguez, sidelined by various injuries, has been on a minor league rehab assignment where he has posted a pedestrain slash line of .214/.333/.452 with three home runs and ten RBIs in 51 plate appearances across four levels of the Yankees' system.


Biogenesis Suspensions Likely To Be Announced Monday

SATURDAY, 10:44pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that sources say there's a chance MLB will reach a compromise with A-Rod's camp prior to a 6 p.m. Sunday deadline, though one source judged the possibility to be "next to nil."

9:11pm: Sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports that A-Rod expects MLB to impose his suspension using the collective bargaining and drug agreements, meaning that he will not play for the Yankees on Monday against the White Sox.

7:57pm: A-Rod will be suspended Monday, sources tell T.J. Quinn and Andrew Marchand of ESPN. The suspension will likely run through the end of the 2014 season. Tense discussions reportedly "broke down completely" today after MLB Commissioner Bud Selig informed officials he would no longer negotiate with Rodriguez's camp.

7:41pm: Around 20 players altogether may be punished, T.J. Quinn of ESPN reports via Twitter. That total includes around 12 players who will be punished as major leaguers. However, several minor league players are also expected to receive punishment, Quinn adds.

4:03pm: Barring a dramatic change in the eleventh hour, MLB plans to just institute their suspension of A-Rod without further negotiations, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.  Rodriguez's camp also called the Yankees to try and work out a deal on the remainder of his hefty contract, but they were rebuffed (link).

FRIDAY, 8:05pm: There is no 6pm deadline for players to accept suspensions, according to a report from Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News. The trio explains that 50-game suspensions are likely (as expected) for all involved players except for Rodriguez. As for A-Rod, with negotiations apparently stalled, the Daily News reporters say that MLB appears to be leaning away from a lifetime ban. Echoing this morning's reports, the league reportedly believes that a suspension in the 200-game vicinity would be "more palatable to an arbitrator."

5:05pm: Players facing Biogenesis-related suspensions, including Rodriguez, will have until 6pm EST to settle their cases, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Otherwise, the league will (as previously reported) move forward with suspensions, with an announcement coming Monday. 

12:57pm: Heyman tweets that players have been informed the suspensions will be announced on Monday.

12:04pm: While there has been speculation that suspensions for players involved in the Biogenesis investigation would be announced today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it's looking more likely that they'll be delayed until Sunday. Major League Baseball is prioritizing the suspensions for players other than Alex Rodriguez, because there is still no indication that A-Rod is willing to cut a deal (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, meanwhile, tweets that the suspensions should come out Sunday or Monday.

Sunday would be a last-minute deadline, as some teams (the Rangers, for example) will have exactly 50 games remaining after that point. The Tigers, who stand to potentially lose Jhonny Peralta, will only have played 109 games at that point and therefore aren't in as much danger.

As USA Today's Bob Nightengale wrote, MLB is said to be willing to suspend Rodriguez through the 2014 season — a ban of roughly 217 games that would cost the three-time MVP more than $34MM in salary. However, contrary to other reports that say Rodriguez refuses to discuss a deal, Heyman reports that there are indications that Rodriguez may be open to discussing a slightly lesser penalty. Heyman lists a 150-game suspension as a compromise possibility but adds that it isn't clear how many games MLB is willing to shave off the 217-game proposal, or if they're even willing to come down at all. Rodriguez is scheduled to play in rehab games for Double-A Trenton this weekend, beginning tonight.


Could MLB Teams Sue PED Offenders? Part III

This is the final part of a series of three posts discussing ESPN’s Buster Olney’s suggestion that teams could consider pursuing litigation options against players facing suspensions arising out of the Biogenesis scandal. I recommend reading Part I and Part II for necessary background on some of the terms and concepts referenced in this segment. This time around, I will attempt to take a preliminary look at whether and how teams might view hypothetical legal action against the players who have been or appear likely to be suspended.

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Could MLB Teams Sue PED Offenders? Part II

Today, we will continue to explore the possibility raised by ESPN’s Buster Olney that baseball clubs could seek to take creative legal action against players involved in the Biogenesis scandal. You can find Part I of the series here. This installment will go a little deeper into the actual legal doctrines at play. (Be forewarned, it is lengthy.) As with the first time around, I welcome any comments or criticisms and will do my best to respond to them in the discussion section. Click below to read on. 

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