Passan: MLB targeting A-Rod (and Braun) in Biogenesis probe


Via Jeff Passan: MLB is primarily targeting Alex Rodriguez (and Ryan Braun) for potential discipline as part of their investigation into Anthony Bosch and his Biogenesis clinic in South Florida. “There’s no question in my mind they want those two guys,” said one of Passan’s sources.

A-Rod, 37, was linked to Biogenesis and performance-enhancing drugs back in January. MLB’s investigation isn’t gaining much steam, so the league has considered offering other players immunity (!) in exchange for cooperating with their efforts to bring down A-Rod and Braun according to Passan. That would be hilariously hypocritical. Apparently MLB is so concerned with PEDs that they’re willing to let some cheaters go unpunished just so they could beat their chest after bringing down some big names. How exactly would that make the game clean? Baseball would be dirtier than ever.

Categories : Asides, STEROIDS!
  • Russ

    Are they serious , Mike ? This is like “Law and Order” when they get a criminal to testify against another for immunity. I guess they want the biggest fish but this is ridiculous.

    • BeanTooth

      It’s classic investigative procedure. Catch the small fish and get them to roll over on the big ones. Seems a little odd for this inquiry, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

      • MannyGeee

        Yeah, except it doesn’t work if they all performed the same crime. This would then be a case of offering immunity to fuel their witch hunt. Which I do not put past the League. At all.

        The ultimate plot twist: A-Rod gets immunity for rolling over on Ryan Braun.

        • Count Zero

          Exactly. This isn’t getting “Fat Louie” to roll over so you can bring down the head of the family who is running the entire criminal operation — it’s just trying to grab headlines so you can say you are addressing the issue.

  • Eddard

    Good. I applaud MLB’s efforts. And A-Rod’s suspension shouldn’t start until he’s healthy enough to play. That way we might be able to keep him away the whole season. I just wish the Yankees would do what the Giants did with Melky last year and tell A-Rod they don’t want anything to do with him anymore. Worked out pretty well for the Giants.

    • Colombo

      Melky was a free agent after the season, Alex is not.

    • jjyank

      You applaud them for offering immunity to other cheaters?

      • Nick

        I do, in principle.

        If you have 10 guilty people, surely it’s better to give immunity to five so as to convict the other five. It’s not ideal by any means but if the choice is between incomplete justice and no justice at all then I know which I’d choose.

        • jjyank

          I fundamentally disagree. I don’t see justice in letting people off who commit the exact same crime.

          It’s like someone else pointed out elsewhere. How does this not ENCOURAGE fringe players to do PEDs? If they have the dirt on someone like A-Rod, they can cheat, get paid, and then cash in on their immunity. It’s stupid.

          • Jim Is Bored

            I’m on your side here. This is a terrible precedent.

            It basically says “Some cheating is ok, just don’t cheat so that you’re a star”

          • Cool Lester Smooth

            But shouldn’t fringe players be taking PEDs, if only for the sake of their families?

            • Jim Is Bored

              If you’re for making PED’s ok, yeah. If you want to get rid of them completely, you can’t encourage any sort of usage.

              But right now absolutely, ignoring morality, it’s completely to their benefit to be taking PED’s.

          • Nick

            On the ‘encouragement’ point, the only way a player would come forward to dish the dirt and take immunity would be if they had a reasonable suspicion that they were going to be caught at some point anyway. Players do not WANT to tarnish their reputations and so will not be jumping at the chance to step forward. If they do, it’s because they feel guilty or worried and so welcome the chance to cleanse the conscience!

            In a perverse kind of way, this shows the system is working. There is also a deterrent factor here, if top players think that any minor-leaguer might grass them up then they might be less inclined to cheat in the first place.

            Let me be clear, I do agree that this is morally questionnable but MLB is not a law court. We are trying to clean up the sport and influence players and I genuinely think this approach contributes positively toward that for the reasons outlined.

            • jjyank

              More so than the encouragement aspect though is that it just seems like the MLB is grasping at straws. Test A-Rod and Braun. Investigate the clinic. If they come up empty on both, maybe this is just a witch hunt. I don’t see why they even need to offer immunity to guys.

          • Now Batting

            Thats bull. MLB should do whatever it can to encourage players to fess up. One of the biggest issues during the PED era was that all the players kept it hush hush. Canseco wrote books on it and was ostracized. MLB needs to do whatever it can to change that culture. If the only way to get players to talk about it is to grant them immunity so be it.

            • jjyank

              No, what’s bull is giving players a free pass for being tattle tales. Investigate. Test. Whatever. Immunity is bullshit.

              • Now Batting

                Pragmatism > Idealism

          • Laz

            You also have to see the problems it could create. Any player in the east has a lot more incentive to implicate Braun, because without him the Brewers are sunk.

    • hogsmog

      What, efforts that encourage replacement-level players to do PEDs because they know that they can testify against a bigger fish if they are ever caught?

      A play in one act:

      Ramiro Pena walks into Biogenesis II, and says “Hold off on that HGH until I see an all-star walk by.”

    • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

      …ironically, the players voted him a full share of all the playoff money too…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Not even worth getting worked up over.

  • vin

    I’m so sick and tired of this issue and the way MLB has handled it.

  • Algernon Blackwood

    I can understand them wanting to take down Braun and Arod more than others. Keep in mind Braun has already been busted once and got off on a technicality. Him getting off without any punishment and having his name come up again makes the process look ineffectual. In Arod’s case everyone, even non-baseball fans know he was juicing and he has never been punished; again making testing look week. I realize the same could be said for others, but now they have the Biogenesis lead they feel they need to get these two, even at the expense of more widespread punishment.

    • jjsabe

      If anything Arod should be mad at the mlb not the other way around, no one was supposed to know that he failed the test in 03.

      • Algernon Blackwood

        Good point, I had forgotten that was the cause of the admission.

    • The Oberamtmann

      No, he didn’t get off on a “technicality.” there was no positive test.

      • AndrewYF

        No, there absolutely was, but the chain of custody was broken, so the evidence would not stand in any court of law.

        Braun may be a cheater, but you have to prove it first. MLB better be very, verrrrrry careful how they deal with him moving forward. Charging someone with the same *kind* of crime is not double jeopardy, but it looks pretty bad for the prosecuting party when they can’t close the deal.

        • The Oberamtmann

          It looks very bad, especially after they publicly castigated the arbitrator *they hired* for not following party line.

          And if you have studied science, you would know that when you perform a test but don’t follow all the proper procedures, said test is null and void. Hence, no test.

      • Algernon Blackwood

        The only reason he got off was the person who collected his sample mailed it in the next morning thinking FedEx was closed. Braun never even disputed the fact he tested positive.

        Details here,

    • Laz

      Isn’t fair for one player to be punished more severely though. Brewers are sunk if Braun gets suspended, Say Votto also was in the biogen papers, but testified against Braun. Is that fair for Reds to end the Brewers season because of an off field issue that was already prejudiced.

  • Chris

    Is there another sport which actively tries to drag down its biggest stars?

    • Doobie Doo

      “Bicycling!” yells Lance Armstrong.

      • vin

        Chris said “sport”

        • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

          Dude have you ever ridden a road bike? Up a hill? For 130 miles? Didn’t think so.

          • vin

            I didn’t say it wasn’t incredibly difficult. I bike for fun every weekend when the weather permits. Difficulty doesn’t make it a sport.

            • .zip file


            • Laz

              Agree. But it is more off a sport than golf or Nascar.

    • Stratman9652

      It’s the same thing they are doing with the draft spending limits and limiting international free agent spending. They are actively hurting their biggest spending teams in order to promote fairness for small market teams. In the process they are alienating the fan bases that make up the majority of the audience. Its kind of a counterproductive way of doing business.

      • TomH

        They are actively hurting their biggest spending teams in order to promote fairness for small market teams.

        1) Wasn’t Selig a small-market owner (or something)?

        2.) Who exactly is “they”? I mean: when these leveling decisions were made, who made them–were the Yankees, Sox, Dodgers, eg–represented? Were they made during bargaining for CBA’s?

        3.) Could the Yankees have fought those decisions off? Or are those decisions evidence of the general will of ownership, that some attempt be made to reduce, or limit the growth of, salaries?

  • Evan

    Does anyone know if a player’s salary counts against the cap is suspended? Clearly he doesn’t get paid but does his cap number change?

    • I’m not the droids you’re looking for…

      Still counts afaik.

    • Laz

      Pretty unfair if Selig makes arod’s salary count towards the luxury cap limit, but lets off other players, because they aren’t as “cool”

  • jjyank

    This is pretty ridiculous. If a player cheats and gets caught, they get punished. Offering immunity to anyone is insane. I don’t understand. Why can’t MLB just test them and do the best they can to investigate the clinic? If they test negative and the don’t turn up anything at the clinic, I don’t understand why it can just be dropped.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      They’re (MLB) working this like the legal system. Offer a reduced sentance for information on the one’s you really want. I can understand Braun (he made them look foolish and appears to have been guilty). A-Rod is just a lightning rod for these kinds of things.

      Investigating is fine. Don’t target specific players. There’s nothing to gain by that. What they did with the minor league player was rediculous. No evidence, but they didn’t like what he had to say when he cooperated with them.

      • jjyank

        Right. I have no problem with the investigating anyone. I just want them to investigate everyone equally if they committed the same crime.

      • BeanTooth

        Of course the implication is that Braun and ARod are somehow bigger fish in the conspiracy. In a drug ring, the feds nab the little guys so they lead them to the kingpin. The analogy works if ARod and Braun are at the top of the organization they’re hunting. Otherwise it feels like a vendetta.

        • jjyank

          Right. This would make sense if Braun and A-Rod secretly owned the clinic and were involved in a PED distribution ring. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense to me at all.

          • Laz

            I agree. But any other way it is just a personal vendetta.

  • Cris Pengiucci

    I guess the biggest positive out of this is that the government is not yet involved. They have more important issues to address and I hope they leave this to MLB to work it as they see fit. I don’t like the fact that they seem to be targeting certain players, but if they can come up with real evidence that these players cheated, then they deserver whatever punishment they get.

  • Barry

    Kind of sounds like collusion, mlb working with some players to attack/discredit/punish other players.

  • Coolerking101

    Sorry Mike, I strongly disagree. While there is a degree of hypocrisy involved, immunity serves the greater good…which is the elimination of PEDs from the sport. It is no different than giving a low level mobster immunity from prosecution to go after the mob bosses. A-Rod and Braun may not be giving orders, but they are two of the games biggest stars. What they do influences others. Successfully prosecuting the biggest fish, may not be completely fair, but it will put the fear of god in others.

    • jjyank

      I disagree with your analogy. The immunity offered to a low level guy in order to go after the big fish is different because in all likelihood, the big fish committed worse and/or more crimes than the guy who got immunity. This is a situation where the MLB would be giving immunity to someone who broke the same rule as the “big fish”. Doesn’t exactly seem fair and just to me.

    • Yankee in Exile

      The problem with this is that A-Rod and Braun aren’t the mob bosses; Selig and the GM’s are the mob bosses. If they want to eliminate PED’s they need to create strong, consistent rules that are universally enforced instead of only targeting player’s that embarrass them. All that this says to players is, “Cheat enough to get paid [like Melky], but don’t be a superstar.” Neither part of that message is good for MLB.

    • Mike Axisa

      You’re fooling yourself if you think MLB suspending A-Rod and Braun will eliminate PEDs. Giving other players immunity does the exact opposite, it gives people a way out as long as they are willing to roll over.

      Also, this isn’t the mob.

      • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals

        Also, this isn’t the mob.


        • Gonzo

          Sal Fasano…


      • Coolerking101

        I don’t suggest and never have suggested all PED usage will end. There will always be desperate people with nothing to lose (i.e. Bartolo Colon, Melkman). You, however are being foolish suggesting that taking down two of the games’ superstars wouldn’t send shockwaves through the sport and decrease PED usage. MLB has NO power whatsoever to get to the bottom of this. They can’t get the records at issue because the paper won’t turn them over (likely because doing so would be a violation of numerous federal laws). The only way any cheaters go down for this is if someone gets immunity and tells all.

        You have 2 choices: 1)let everyone get off, or 2) take the biggest name cheaters down by letting a few minor guys get away with it. I support taking down the biggest name cheaters.

  • CurvedSlightly

    There’s also been this floating around…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      ….as shit will often float in the toilet.

      • MannyGeee

        hehehe. Well played

      • CurvedSlightly

        Exactly. I think the dude got lucky guessing on Melky and is trying to do it with Cano and Grandy. I won’t be surprised if Braun and ARod get suspensions this year, though.

        If it is true however… oh God, I don’t even want to imagine the media circus…

  • Craig

    This reminds me of an episode of “24.” That said, with these 90-or-so other names out there; don’t they need more “hard” evidence than just names in a notebook?

    I could write down the whole Red Sox roster and it’d carry almost the same weight; we won’t know anything unless the players are completely honest…which will never, ever happen. This is rather precedent-setting yet hypocritical. That said, if A-Rod and Braun are suspended for 100 games; do the Yankees get compensated at all contract-wise?

  • matt montero

    It might make the game dirtier than ever but it would look fantastic for MLB to catch two huge stars.

  • Mike

    According to the CBA they can only discipline if the player fails a test. Passan should know that.

  • LK

    Can we please just legalize PEDs and stop dealing with all this bullshit?

    • trr

      in a word, NO!

    • Gonzo

      I love your posts, but legalizing something that is potentially harmful is tough. People are prescribed certain PED’s because of medical conditions.* The effects on perfectly healthy people over long periods of time is largely unknown for obvious reasons.

      How would you feel if baseball players starting dropping like flies from cancer in their 50′s. What if it was legal and you were a baseball player that has a long history of cancer in your family and a doctor told you that you probably shouldn’t mess with PED’s?

      MLB shouldn’t put people in those positions. Recovering from injuries for short periods of time should be considered if cleared by the medical community.

      *Old people on HGH are somewhat of an exception. Old people also have very slow regenerating cells which is why cancer is “slower” among older people than younger people.

  • trr

    First off, this ain’t gonna fly…players will close ranks.
    Second, this methodology is neither fair nor effective.

    MLB cannot adopt the same procedure that a criminal court might, chiefly because the desired results are different. And there is no need for government involvement whatsoever. Let MLB enforce the current standard without exception; if ineffective, revise it.

    And Christ, am I sick of A-Rod!

    • Jim Is Bored

      No, you should be sick of the news surrounding A-Rod. A-Rod hasn’t done anything newsworthy in months.

    • Barry

      Second, this methodology is neither fair nor effective.

      lol at this, tell that to ever law enforcement agency in America.

      • trr

        Barry, my comment pertains only to MLB and it’s processes; I think my post was clear on that.

    • Gonzo

      Yeah, they couldn’t get a minor leaguer to roll. There is no chance they are getting a big leaguer to talk. MLB doesn’t have subpoena power. They are going to get squat unless the feds get involved.

  • vin

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the media and MLB care much more about this issue than the fans. I suppose that could be a good thing… for example, I doubt NHL and NFL fans worry about the long term health of the players who’ve suffered head injuries. In that case, it’s incumbent upon the league, the union, and the people that cover it to protect the players and raise awareness.

    However, PEDs are a different circumstance. Players are willingly taking them to gain an advantage, as opposed to getting their bell rung by a fellow physical monster. I just wish MLB would work more discretely to clean this issue up instead of constantly grandstanding. I don’t know what the sport has to gain by continuously drawing attention to PED use.

  • The Oberamtmann

    Could we PLEASE stop saying Braun got off on a technicality? If you perform a scientific experiment, and the conditions of the experiment are not met, there was no test. That’s it. Not a technicality. Not a false positive. NO TEST.

    There is even evidence that it was not even Braun’s urine. He offered to have his DNA checked against the DNA of the test and MLB refused, which makes me wonder if there is some other reason Selig seems to really have it out for him. The way MLB handled his successful arbitration (didn’t they fire the guy whose decision they disagreed with?) makes MLB look like whiny children and, IMO, throws the entire arbitration system into doubt if they just fire whomever’s decisions they don’t like.

    Fangraphs had an excellent article on why Braun might have legitimately owed Biogenesis money that has nothing to do with steroids:

    In short: if we are going to assume that A-Rod, Braun, Cervelli et al took steroids because their names appear on a piece of paper, then we need to assume that Braun’s lawyers did steroids too.

    If MLB is genuinely doing this, I hope that Braun and A-Rod sue the crap out of MLB. If you make rules about steroid testing, then you need to follow your own rules! And stop supporting BS guilty-until-proven-innocent rumors which really only hurt the game.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yup. Due process is such a silly thing until it’s your ass behind bars.

      I’m glad that not following protocol didn’t get overlooked.

      • The Oberamtmann

        My problem is how MLB openly complained about the decision (which Braun should have sued over), then fired the arbitrator.

        Also, I believe even Axisa thinks Braun got off on a technicality, though I could be wrong.

        I wonder if that embarasment is why MLB is so out to get him. The worst part? Braun’s explanation for why he’s on the list makes far more sense than anyone else’s yet the media despises him. Can’t figure it out.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          ….and history has proven time and time again that it’s such an effective reason for trying to convict someone/go to war/etc.

          I hope Braun never gets suspended, just to piss MLB off.

          • trr

            To me, a cheater is a cheater. I hope they get what they deserve.

            • The Oberamtmann

              “a cheater is a cheater” but there is no evidence he was a cheater… so what exactly does Braun deserve and why?

              • trr

                If he comes up dirty, he deserves the same punishment as the 25th man on the team would receive.
                If he is exonerated, he should receive a very public
                acknowledgement of same

                Re his overturned suspension,the chain-of-custody issue — the two-day delay between the collection of Braun’s sample and its delivery – raised sufficient doubt for the arbitrator to overturn the suspension.
                MLB + Player’s union agreed to both the rules governing the process and the arbitrator himself. So Braun did nothing wrong in appealing the verdict. Was he dirty? Unfortunately. there’s no “official” answer…

                • The Oberamtmann

                  Actually, according to the terms of the CBA, he was clean, insofar as not being found dirty=clean. In that case, MLB should have broadcast his successful appeal as a case of the anti-PED system *working how it was designed* not acted like little crybabies.

                  Yes, if he is somehow convicted as a PED user according to the terms of the CBA, of course he should be punished. But your comment made you sound like you believe he is guilty because of the earlier brouhaha and therefore, as a “cheater” deserves punishment. I’m not saying he should not be punished if he uses steroids. I’m saying that there is zero evidence that he has used, and that MLB apparently has it out for him.

    • Algernon Blackwood

      Braun never even disputed the results of the test. The only reason he got off was that the person with the sample waited until the following morning to FedEx it thinking FedEx was closed. If this was another sport with different chain of custody rules he still would have been suspended.

      There was no problem with the test at all. It was positive.

      • The Oberamtmann

        He never disputed the results of the test because, by not following protocol, there was no test. “there was no problem with the test at all,” as you say, because there was no test. Nothing in your link suggests your implication that Braun essentially admitted his guilt and it does mention the possibility that it was not even his urine as I wrote.

        Keep in mind, the test does not actually look for “synthetic testosterone” which is, molecularly, the exact same thing as regular testosterone. It only looks for markers that suggest the testosterone was manufactured, which is why it is so easy to have a false positive.

        It is true that if there were different chain of custody rules he would still have been suspended, but those rules are there for a reason. As in the real legal system, those rules are in place to protect against tampering and, in scientific cases, natural organic changes to the tested material. Can you demonstrate to me that the chain of custody rules are superfluous?

  • craig

    Wouldn’t the MLBPA have a big problem with union members rolling over on other union members?

  • Dalek Jeter

    Mike, they don’t want to make the game clean, they want to look like they’re making the game clean. The easiest way to do that is to take guys who have been lightning rods in this scandal, Braun and A-Rod, and be able to hang them. It’s stupid, petty, political, bullshit that intelligent people will be able to see straight through, but we all know the public isn’t that smart.

    • Jim Is Bored

      How is that the easiest way to clean it up? It just encourages people to cheat their way to the majors, but not cheat TOO much.

      It will do nothing to stop the utility infielders of the world from using.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Ignore me. Totally misread your comment.

        Move along.

    • MannyGeee

      “Mike, they don’t want to make the game clean, they want to look like they’re making the game clean.”

      1000% the truth.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    So fucking sick of this shit.

    Perform your investigation. If you have enough info to suspend someone, suspend them. Let them serve their suspension and work their way back. Whatever. Suspend half of baseball. Suspend half the Yankees. I’ve rooted for worse. :)

    If you need to try to get other players to snitch and offer immunity, though, you’ve got one shitty case.

  • Frank

    I’d rather miss 50 games for PEDs than be exposed, inevitably, as a whistle blower in a world where I hope to continue my career. That stigma would follow the player right out of MLB.

  • King of Fruitless Hypotheticals


    I’m taking up a collection to open a just-barely-this-side-of-legal-and-oh-so-shady sort-of-medical ‘clinic.’

    Every donation gets you the right to write ONE(1) name in my ‘notebook’ as it were.

    Larger donations can remove names, or add characters or characteristics.

    Bold, stars on both sides of names, red ink extra.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      You probably could use someone of my credentials to co-sign. We could offer “counseling.”

      Count me in.

  • EightAces

    Dumb, fucking dumb.

    The moment they suspended that minor league player for 100 games, with ZERO concrete evidence other than being a name scribbled down on a book/ledger I knew they were on to something stupid.

  • MannyGeee

    In the ultimate case of irony… the guy who was the most anxious and willing to be the stool pigeon for all things steroids has been shunned by the league.

    Here’s to you, Mr Canseco. Just another shred of proof that the league only wants to “appear” to be fighting the good fight against the evil steroid users…

    • MannyGeee

      Goes worth mentioning that I am being a little cheeky about “Jose Canseco the Patron Saint of Baseball”, but the league treated him like a pariah when he was telling his story a decade ago.

  • Cool Lester Smooth

    Here’s what I bet Michael Weiner is saying to every one of the guys who got implicated:

    (1:55 if the link doesn’t take you there)

  • Yankee Fan In Cleveland

    I find it hard to give this story a shred of credibility. Immunity would never happen, not against this union. It would probably open the door to a slew of lawsuits and counter lawsuits. Do you see the MLB wanting to open that Pandora box? Do they want to be seen locked in legal battles with their star players (well Braun at least)?

  • Yankee Fan in LA

    There is no greater crime in this world than that of an informer. Except maybe being one of the people who are tempting someone to inform.

    • Algernon Blackwood

      Ok Snow