MLB May Seek To Suspend Up To 20 Players, Including A-Rod And Ryan Braun

ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball is looking to suspend up to twenty players over allegations of steroid use, including several of baseball’s most well-known players:

Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks, “Outside the Lines” has learned. If the suspensions are upheld, the performance-enhancing drug scandal would be the largest in American sports history.

Tony Bosch, founder of the now-shuttered Biogenesis of America, reached an agreement this week to cooperate with MLB’s investigation, two sources told “Outside the Lines,” giving MLB the ammunition officials believe they need to suspend the players.

One source familiar with the case said the commissioner’s office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is the players’ connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another. Bosch and his attorneys did not return several calls. MLB officials refused to comment when reached Tuesday.

Bosch is expected to begin meeting with officials — and naming names — within a week. The announcement of suspensions could follow within two weeks.

Investigators have had records naming about 20 players for more than a month. But without a sworn statement from Bosch that the records are accurate and reflect illicit interactions between the players and the self-described biochemist, the documents were little more than a road map.

Sources did not say what other materials, such as receipts and phone records, Bosch might provide, but said he has pledged to provide anything in his possession that could help MLB build cases against the players. Sources said MLB officials were not sure how many players may end up being pulled into the scandal: The 20 or so they know of have been identified through paperwork, but Bosch is expected to provide more. (Because some players are listed by their names and some by code names, officials are not yet certain whether some are redundant.

The development is a major break for MLB, which has pursued the case vigorously since Bosch’s name was brought to MLB’s attention last summer. In exchange for Bosch’s full cooperation, sources said, Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March; indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation; provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that may bring charges against him. Sources said negotiations over the agreement, which lasted several weeks, stalled over the last point, as Bosch wanted the strongest assurances he could get that MLB would help mitigate any prosecution.

At the same time, MLB is trying to secure the cooperation of at least two other former Bosch associates who have spoken to MLB investigators, as well as Juan Carlos Nunez, a registered agent who worked for longtime agents Seth and Sam Levinson, who is believed to have been a conduit between Bosch and numerous players.

MLB already has established precedent to suspend a player for two offenses in one shot: Minor league player Cesar Carrillo was hit with a 100-game suspension in March when he was confronted with Biogenesis documents containing his name and then denied having any connection to Bosch or the clinic.

If this happens, it would be the biggest disciplinary action that Major League Baseball has taken since the Black Sox Scandal. And, speaking as  Yankees fan, if this happens and it ends up being sufficient grounds to break A-Rod’s contract, I’m perfectly fine with it.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Sports
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. anjin-san says:

    Gentlemen, hold out your wrists and prepare to be punished.

  2. rudderpedals says:

    Absolutely no connection between this and rumors about imminent hearings.

  3. trumwill says:

    At least this time they caught A-Rod fairly (or seemed to), unlike the outrageous way they got him last time.

  4. Dave D says:

    Apparently PED violation doesn’t void contracts as negotiated by the MLB and players union, so the Yanks will still be on the hook.

  5. Hal 10000 says:

    I’m convinced that, if they try this, it will end up as a fiasco. The MLBPA could (and should) fight against it. If players can be suspended based on this, without having flunked a drug test as spelled out in the agreement, the league is basically claiming arbitrary power to suspend whomever they want based on whatever evidence they consider sufficient. I’m sure that will please the anti-PED hysterics out there. We’re already getting the usual cries of “Steroids evil, players bad, think about the children!” But I can’t think it would be consistent with the current labor agreement.

  6. John Burgess says:

    Those being investigated:

    Ryan Braun Brewers
    Everth Cabrera Padres
    Melky Cabrera Blue Jays
    Francisco Cervelli Yankees
    Bartolo Colon Athletics
    Nelson Cruz Rangers
    Fautino de los Santos Free agent
    Gio Gonzalez* Nationals
    Yasmani Grandal Padres
    Fernando Martinez Astros
    Jesus Montero Mariners
    Jordan Norberto Free agent
    Jhonny Peralta Tigers
    Cesar Puello** Mets
    Alex Rodriguez Yankees

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal 10000:

    If players can be suspended based on this, without having flunked a drug test as spelled out in the agreement, the league is basically claiming arbitrary power to suspend whomever they want based on whatever evidence they consider sufficient.

    No.

    A 100-game suspension is reserved for a second PED offense of the Joint Drug Agreement. It would be in play only if MLB officials determine that the players lied about their involvement in previous interviews and/or the officials confirm other so-called “non-analytical” offenses. The JDA does allow baseball to discipline players without a failed drug test when sufficient evidence exists to prove purchase, receipt or use of banned drugs.

  8. bandit says:

    The problem with MLB and PEDS is there’s little incentive for the teams to police themselves. Red Sox and NYY dominate baseball from ’96 – ’09 with teams loaded with juicers. They should do it like FIFA sanctioned leagues do with other financial/gambling issues and say your player is suspended and you take a 20 game penalty. Now owners want the WS titles to stand then want to be able to void contracts of guys like ARod because now they’re broke down and overpaid who they were more than willing to look the other way when they saw the chance to win with them. Look at guys like Colon, Melky and IIRC Manny Ramirez is eligible to return after the All-star break. Teams can sign them knowing their propensity for PED use then if they get suspended then walk away.

  9. PJ says:

    And, speaking as Yankees fan, if this happens and it ends up being sufficient grounds to break A-Rod’s contract, I’m perfectly fine with it.

    So, a team wanting to get out of a contract could then spike a player’s food, etc…

    I’m all for longer suspensions, no pay during the suspension, and the player’s team being able to void a contract. But there also has to be a incentive for the team to field clean players. So, something like, game penalties, as suggested above by bandit, or loss of draft picks.