With today's news that MLB could be looking to fast-track suspensions relating to the Biogenesis PED scandal, it is worth reading USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale's look ahead at the arbitration process that will have a major role in how things play out. As previous arbitrator Shyam Das explained to Nightengale, newly-minted arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will be entering "somewhat uncharted waters" as he assesses whether the evidence warrants whatever suspensions are ultimately leveled. You may also be interested in reading this interesting account (from Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times) of how whistleblower Porter Fischer blew the lid on the Biogenesis clinic.
In more pleasant news, here is a look at some goings-on around baseball:
- While the Red Sox' below-slot signing of first-rounder Trey Ball freed up some cash, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the team is still unlikely to ink 22nd-round choice Ryan Boldt. Boldt, a highly-regarded high school outfielder who was rated as high as 39th overall (by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo), reportedly intends to attend the University of Nebraska. According to Callis, he is looking for a $2.5MM bonus to forego college.
- On the other hand, with the Astros locking up first overall choice Mark Appel to a bonus that fell about $1.5MM below his slot value, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says that the club is looking to spend some of that cash on later-round high schoolers. Houston could send some of its free money to tenth-rounder Austin Nicely (a left-handed University of Virginia commit) or eleventh-rounder Devonte German (a righty who will otherwise head to Nevada).
- The inimitable Manny Ramirez has opted out of his contract with the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and has his eyes set on a return to Major League Baseball, writes FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. After mashing eight home runs and posting a .352 batting average in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, Ramirez's representatives Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro say that the slugger is "interested in returning to the majors in any role, including that of a pinch hitter." Now 41 years of age, the all-time great slugger last appeared in the bigs in 2011 with the Rays.