Archive for STEROIDS!
5:41pm: Christian Red, Mark Feinsand, and Michael O’Keeffe report that Cano’s name is not listed in any of the Biogenesis documents obtained by MLB. Cruz’s name appears briefly and she purchased something other than PEDs.
4:04pm: Via T.J. Quinn & Mike Fish: MLB is investigating Robinson Cano for potential ties to Biogenesis, the South Florida clinic that allegedly supplied performance-enhancing drugs to various athletes. Sonia Cruz, a spokeswoman at Cano’s foundation, is listed on the clinic’s client list for a weight-loss program. Cruz denied Robbie had any connection to Biogenesis, which Cano just reiterated to reporters in Tampa.
Long story short: MLB is investigating Cano because Cruz, Melky Cabrera (his best friend), and Alex Rodriguez (his teammate) all showed up in the various Biogenesis documents. It’s is a pretty loose connection obviously, but a connection worth investigating apparently. My only concern right now is Cano’s image more than anything. It doesn’t take much for fans to label someone a PED cheat — a label that sticks forever — and I really hope that label doesn’t applied to Robbie after this flimsy little connection. That would be a damn shame (unless he actually did them, of course).
5:31pm: Via Michael Schmidt: MLB may have evidence that a representative of Alex Rodriguez purchased documents from the Anthony Bosch-led clinic Biogenesis for the purpose of having them destroyed. Unsurprisingly, A-Rod’s camp has flatly denied the allegations. MLB has purchased documents from a former employee of the clinic to help further their investigation into players who may have received performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch and Biogenesis, and the league recently filed a lawsuit against numerous parties involved (no players) as well.
This isn’t much of a surprise, but Brian Cashman confirmed this afternoon that Clay Rapada (shoulder bursitis) will indeed start the year on the DL. The left-hander threw 15 fastballs from a mound this morning, but is still a ways off from returning to game action.
Meanwhile, Joe Girardi indicated Phil Hughes (bulging disk) is likely to start the season on the DL as well. That is not yet set in stone, however. Hughes threw 57 pitches in a minor league game today, but it’s unclear if he’ll be stretched out enough to join the rotation when the season begins. Like I said, not much of a surprise.
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.
Via Steven Marcus: Alex Rodriguez tested negative for performance-enhancing drugs in a recent MLB-mandated screening. MLB tested Gio Gonzalez — both blood and urine — two days after he was connected to the South Florida clinic Biogenesis, and I assume A-Rod went through the same thing. They probably ordered everyone in the report to be tested as soon as possible. MLB is still investigating Biogenesis, Anthony Bosch, the players, all of that stuff.
10:19pm: Cervelli released a statement because he’s a real live baseball player: “Following my foot injury in March 2011, I consulted with a number of experts, including the Biogenesis clinic, for legal ways to aid my rehab and recovery. I purchased supplements I am certain were not prohibited by Major League Baseball.”
8:00pm: Via Jeff Passan: Frankie Cervelli is among the new batch of players connected to the Anthony Bosch-run South Florida clinic that allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs. You know what I’m talking about, the same mess Alex Rodriguez is currently dealing with. If Cervelli did take a banned substance, I hope he did it recently. The Yankees need all the offense they can get out of their catchers this year.
A report in The Miami New Times concerning Anthony Bosch — who is under investigation by MLB and the DEA — says Alex Rodriguez is among the players who received performance-enhancing drugs from his South Florida clinic. According to the clinic’s records, A-Rod received HGH and other substances from Bosch from at least 2009 through last season. Here’s the A-Rod-related text so you don’t have to read the entire article…
There, at number seven on the list, is Alex Rodriguez. He paid $3,500, Bosch notes. Below that, he writes, “1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.) creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet.” HGH, of course, is banned in baseball, as are testosterone creams.
That’s not the only damning evidence against A-Rod, though. Another document from the files, a loose sheet with a header from the 19th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging and Aesthetic Medicine, lays out a full regimen under the name Cacique: “Test. cream… troches prior to workout… and GHRP… IGF-1… pink cream.”
There’s more evidence. On a 2009 client list, near A-Rod’s name, is that of Yuri Sucart, who paid Bosch $500 for a weeklong supply of HGH. Sucart is famous to anyone who has followed baseball’s steroid scandal. Soon after A-Rod’s admission, the slugger admitted that Sucart — his cousin and close friend — was the mule who provided the superstar his drugs. In 2009, the same year this notebook was written, Sucart (who lives in South Miami and didn’t respond to a message left at his home) was banned from all Yankees facilities.
The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled “2012″ and looks to have been written last spring. Under the heading “A-Rod/Cacique,” Bosch writes, “He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000… I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and… May meds. Has three weeks of Sub-Q (as of April).”
Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, and Nelson Cruz are among the other players named, and all have South Florida ties. MLB will implement in-season HGH testing this year and although I stopped caring about the PED stuff a long time ago, this is obviously going to be a huge, huge story. I’m sure we’re going to hear an awful lot more about this. This is only the start.
Update: Ken Davidoff says the Yankees are going to stay out of the way and let MLB do its thing. The Rangers issued a statement saying they will do the same with Nelson Cruz. Standard protocol.
Update Part Deux: It’s worth noting that players can be suspended for “possession” of PEDs according to the Joint Drug Agreement. There does not have to be a failed test. There’s even a whole section on how to appeal a suspension without a failed test. Several players, including Edinson Volquez, were allowed to serve PED-related suspensions while on the DL.
MLB and the DEA are probing a Miami-area man named Anthony Bosch about his possible link to performance enhancing drugs, reports the Daily News. Bosch, who provides training and nutrition advice, has been connected to several Latin American players in South Florida, including Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez.
This information isn’t anything new. MLB and DEA first started probing Bosch (and his father) way back in 2009, but I guess they’re ramping things up because of all the Latin American players (Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Bartolo Colon, etc.) who tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone in 2012. A-Rod‘s connection is pretty loose here and it looks like the Daily News just slapped his name on the report for effect. Either way, I’m sure we’ll hear more about this at some point.
MLB and the players’ union announced an agreement today that will allow for in-season blood testing for HGH. Chad Jennings has the full press release. The tests will be random and unannounced, though players can only be tested three times per season unless they give the league a reason to test more. Baseball will be the first major sport in the country to test for HGH.
Players were blood tested during Spring Training last year as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but that was just a test of the test. The two sides wanted to see how players responded physically to giving blood before implementing a new policy. Offseason testing began this winter, but it was not random and MLB needed “reasonable cause.” Apparently everything has gone well over the last 12 months and the two sides moved forward with the in-season testing. Great news and a great job by both sides, but obviously this won’t be the end of PEDs in baseball. The drugs are always one step ahead of the test.
I’ll admit the title is a bit of a misnomer. It should probably be “Some MLB players should consider cheating as it pertains to banned substances some of the time.” Also, before going any further with this, I’d like to point out that this article was inspired by one of my great friends (who will hopefully allow me to share his proposal on how to best resolve this issue at some point in the near future). For the sake of the article (and dialog in general), let’s put conventional sentiments surrounding ethics as they pertain to athletics on the shelf for a moment*.
* In other words, let’s not just claim players shouldn’t use banned substances simply because it’s “wrong.” Before you all completely hate on me for writing this article, know that my personal beliefs on performance enhancers are not being reflected, but rather, my observations on how players may perceive the current environment are. I am not really qualified to explain the long term effects of steroids to one’s physical health, so some of my points may be leaps of … ahem, faith. Okay, disclaimers in order … check.
As far as I can tell, the basic motivation for cheating comes down to one primary goal in baseball (and probably sports in general) – that is to obtain a competitive advantage whether it be via skill or durability. For some players, this means transitioning from “subpar or expendable” status to, say, a useful role player. For other players, it may mean going from very talented to exceptional. In any event, I believe certain players in Major League Baseball have much more to gain by cheating then they have to lose compared to others.
Now, I’m not talking about your Alex Rodriguez or your Barry Bonds. Personality traits aside, it’d be completely asinine to claim that either of those players weren’t incredible in their day. Both represent generational talents, who in their prime (and perhaps even past it), would represent an upgrade for any team looking to contend. The problem with cheating for these guys is a matter of perceived legacy. They were always likely to get paid assuming they could stay on the field. If they get caught cheating, the only real jeopardy they’d face is exclusion from the Hall of Fame (assuming the HOF doesn’t change its criteria which I think it will in time). Sure, they may face a suspension as the rules currently stand, but my guess is they’d still typically acquire the big contract more often than not as they’re naturally more gifted than their peers, and being gifted is an expensive commodity. To put this into clear context, I’m not talking about a guy like Mike Trout or Bryce Harper, or any of the other exceptional players in the league.
No, the type of guys I’m referring too are of the Melky Cabrera ilk. Let’s rewind back to 2010. Having been traded to the Braves (in the infamous Javier Vasquez swap) from the Yankees, he was awful. We’re talking a .255/.317/.354 slash line (.292 wOBA) with four home runs bad. For those wondering, that translates out a 77 wRC+ and a -1.1 fWAR. Basically, if all was just in the world, he would have had to pay the Braves for letting him “contribute” to their cause (and he’d probably have to offer a sincere heart-filled apology to [insert generic replacement level player here] for keeping him in the minors). Instead, he was non-tendered as the Braves wanted no part of his $3.1M salary. But the point stands; at this juncture, Melky barely qualified for any Major League roster spot … anywhere.
But something happened, and no, it wasn’t the invigorating atmosphere of Kauffman Stadium or the refreshingly cool San Francisco air that caused it (presumably). Over the next two seasons with the Royals and Giants, Melky was legitimately good. This past season he was so good, in fact, he even contended for the batting title in the NL (.346/.390/.516, .387 wOBA, 149 wRC+, with 11 home runs). There were rumblings as far back as May, that by the end of the year, he was going to cash in a serious contract too, whether it be with the Giants or another team – some even mused a paycheck as lofty as four or five years, $50-60M (roughly $10-15M per year) which was probably quite realistic. For a guy who was about to potentially face a minor league contract, and who was barely a footnote in Major League Baseball as recently as 2010, that’d be one hell of a pay day.
Obviously, things went a bit differently though. Melky was caught using a banned substance. He didn’t win the batting title (because he withdrew his name from consideration), and he was suspended from baseball for 50 games. Now you’d think that teams might have been worried this offseason that some major performance regression could happen for Cabrera and that his performance as player wasn’t entirely legitimate the past couple seasons. You might reasonably expect that Melky could be an interesting “buy low” type of candidate for a lot of teams looking to strike gold on a player with some question marks along with some potential. Instead, the Toronto Blue Jays set the market with a two-year deal worth $16M – that is to say eight million dollars per season despite the question marks surrounding him! Not too shabby, really. And if he puts up solid numbers for the Blue Jays for the next couple seasons, he’ll be right back in line for another solid pay day the next time he hits free agency. That’s far more certainty than he had a few seasons ago when he was viewed as nothing beyond a fourth outfielder/depth guy.
So let’s pretend we’re the proverbial little red devil sitting on the shoulder of the next Melky Cabrera for a moment. We’re going to say. “Son, let’s be honest. You suck. Your dream of being a Major Leaguer could disappear very soon altogether. Go ahead; give yourself a boost while you still can. Maybe you’ll turn it around and extend your career a little while (let’s face it, you’re not getting any younger). Maybe you’ll heal faster from your injuries. Maybe you’ll even become more productive like the Melk Man with a just a bit of help, and you’ll put yourself (and let’s not forget your family) in a better position to earn whatever you can while you can! And if worse comes to worst, you’ll get caught, you’ll face suspension, and you’ll be viewed as a pariah. But then again, that sounds a lot like what’s happening right now. Just consider it. You know everyone else is.”
Of course, ironically, Melky still has the footnote to his name. He’s just substantially wealthier for it.