A fresh report from T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN.com says that suspensions related to the scandal surrounding Tony Bosch and his BioGenesis clinic, in which Melky Cabrera has been implicated, may be very shortly in the offing:
Commissioner Bud Selig’s office is expected to suspend Braun and Rodriguez, along with as many as 20 players sometime after next week’s All-Star break, several sources told “Outside the Lines.” As OTL reported, MLB started building cases against the players last month after Bosch agreed to cooperate with investigators.
I wrote about the possibility of Melky not being protected by the notion of double jeopardy last month, and it certainly still seems plausible, given the way MLB intends to go after the big fish, Braun and Rodriguez.
Today’s report continues:
Sources said the commissioner’s office was considering 100-game bans for Braun and Rodriguez, the punishment for a second offense, even though neither player was previously suspended for violating MLB’s drug policy.
The argument, one source said, would be that they — and possibly other players — committed multiple offenses by receiving performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch and by lying about it.
Melky was suspended 50 games for his positive test, but the attempted cover-up that followed– which seems rather similar to what it sounds like they’re going after Braun and Rodriguez for– was not punished as a separate offence. Could it still be? If MLB were interested in applying justice fairly, you’d almost think they’d have to revisit Melky’s shenanigans/ Yet, if they were troubled enough by being lied to, it’s hard to comprehend why they wouldn’t have gone after him for more games in the first place.
Possibly– perhaps even likely– they’re more concerned with lying in the course of the investigation, and the fact that Melky quickly and publicly admitted to “use of a substance I should not have used” will save him from further suspension.
We’ll simply have to wait and see, I suppose, though the Jays have been steadfast in their belief– at least publicly– that the matter is closed and that Melky’s name showing up in the BioGenesis records was due to the PED use he has already been punished for.
“My understanding is there’s no issue,” Alex Anthopoulos told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com at the start of Spring Training. “My understanding is that, as of today, we really don’t have anything to be concerned with. He served a suspension and right now, that’s it. His suspension has been served.”
Interestingly, the new report says that “as many as 20″ may be suspended over their involvement in BioGenesis, yet the names listed in the original Outside The Lines report numbered just fourteen, including Cabrera (as well as Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal, who have also already been suspended). The piece noted, however, that there were “a number of other players who either are identified by code names or whose names appear in other documents not obtained by ‘Outside the Lines.’ ”
And if Bosch is talking, it’s not going to be difficult to break the code. There may be others– maybe not Blue Jays, but the impact on the league, if we’re talking about that many players, will be dramatic regardless. Assuming anyone ever misses time, after what you’d have to believe will be an intense fight from the players union. Though… not necessarily. As I noted in last month’s piece, union head Michael Weiner had this to say to Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star:
“It’s a tough and complicated legal question,” Weiner said. “I think the commissioner’s office could take the position that if they had evidence of a separate violation, that conceivably they could seek additional discipline. We might challenge that.
“I will say this. The players’ association has an obligation to represent any player who’s subject to discipline. The players’ association is also a signatory to a joint drug agreement, and the players’ association also has an obligation, not only to the players who are subject to discipline, but the vast majority of players who want a clean game.”
Indeed, the P.A. won’t want to look too much like they’re protecting drug cheats, so maybe it’s more complicated than those of us who expect a fight have assumed. Interesting…
Update: Richard Griffin has a piece up about this at the Toronto Star, and notes that Alex Anthopoulos seems to have changed his standard response:
Whereas on previous occasions, Anthopoulos was forever willing to offer his opinion on the Cabrera matter, on Tuesday, via email, he merely wrote, “MLB is handling all comments.”