No Player Will Be Suspended In The Biogenesis Case

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Does Major League Baseball really believe that the MLB Players Association is going to allow suspensions of 100 games to coincide with the dragging of names into the muck based on the head of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic Anthony Bosch agreeing to cooperate with their investigation? Without failed drug tests, how is it going to be possible to suspend anyone? Bosch can provide records, testimony, canceled checks, credit card statements and whatever else and it’s not going to result in the players serving one day of a suspension, let alone 100. So what’s the point?

Bosch could have video evidence of Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera and anyone else implicated sitting in an examining room and getting shot up with a substance; he could have them leaping across buildings like something out of The Matrix, deadlifting 2,000 pounds, wrestling with bears and crocodiles, and putting on bodybuilding shows that would dwarf the Mr. Olympia competition and MLB could still do absolutely nothing because there’s still not concrete proof of any wrongdoing to warrant a suspension. Circumstantial evidence is not going to beget a suspension, nor will it prevent the MLBPA from challenging any attempted suspension to the Supreme Court if they have to. All this will do is cost a lot of money and embarrass the sport even further for something that most will only pay brief attention to as a headline-grabber, then move on with their lives wishing the underperforming stars for their teams would shoot something into their body to help them hit or pitch better and help their teams win.

The only court in which this is going to hold any sway is in the court of public opinion and the court of public opinion doesn’t think much of athletes right now when it comes to believing their denials about PED use, nor should it. The media questions will be little more than an annoyance replied to with mundane denials. These factors aren’t going to be seen as punishment by anyone, so there won’t be any punishment because the only proof there is of wrongdoing is the testimony of one not-so-credible person.

A similar tactic was used when the names from the tests a decade ago were leaked out when they were supposed to have been kept private and destroyed and it was done so to embarrass the players into stopping PED use. But that won’t work either because no matter what happens with A-Rod, Braun and anyone else, they’re still going to get paid via the terms of their contracts. They got the contracts based on their performance due to apparent PED use; the teams had to know that there was a very real possibility that A-Rod, Braun and anyone else to whom they lavish these huge contracts were using PEDs; that the production they provided was bolstered by the PEDs and so were the team’s performance and the attendance accrued because of a combination of those factors. Nobody cared until it became politically correct to care. Cabrera got a two-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays after his PED suspension. What’s the motivation not to do it?

Now the rights of the players are being trampled on in an end-around sort of way as MLB knows no suspension is going to stick, but the players will be “shamed.” Except do you think A-Rod has any shame considering his on and off-field behaviors? Do you think Braun, who got away with a failed PED test on a technicality and then evidently turned around and did it again, really cares all that much about what people scream at him from the stands and the questions reporters repeatedly ask him to receive the same standard proclamation of innocence? Did the suspension and humiliation that Cabrera endured and brought on himself with his fake website scam send a message to Cabrera and the other players? It certainly did…when he received a guaranteed $16 million last winter.

They don’t have any shame and they don’t care because there’s no reason for them to have shame or care.

This is another clumsy show by MLB to put forth the pretense that they’re “doing something” about PEDs and they “care” about the integrity of the game. Except, like the players, they’re not doing anything and they really don’t care all that much to combat it.

This investigation and agreement on the part of Bosch to cooperate with MLB is meaningless and will go absolutely nowhere. There won’t be any suspensions and MLB will get what they want in playing the martyrs to the big, bad MLBPA doing nothing more than what they’re supposed to do in protecting the rights of the players.

It’s a farce and a waste of money, time and energy. It won’t do anything to stop the players from looking for ways to stickhandle their way around PED rules because as long as the suspensions are contingent on concrete proof and the players are receiving lucrative contracts, endorsements, and other benefits from the results they accumulate due to PEDs, they’ll keep doing it. It’s the same wink and nod that went on during the so-called “steroid era” only in a different context. It’s the same result too.

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K-Rod’s Kicker (As Opposed To K-Rod’s “Puncher”)

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When I say “kicker” I’m referring to Mets’ closer Francisco Rodriguez‘s contract option for 2012 that activates if he reaches 55 games finished this season. The “puncher” implies negative connotations considering his 2010 arrest and suspension for beating his girlfriend’s father in the Citi Field family room.

There’s been endless discussion and observation as to whether the Mets are going to consciously prevent K-Rod from reaching the magic number of 55 to guarantee his contract—it’s worth $17.5 million with a $3.5 million buyout; of course the team would be better-served to not have him reach the required number of games finished.

So far, manager Terry Collins has had a reasonable excuse for his use of K-Rod. There are grounds for a conspiracy theorist or paranoid personality to say, “they’re using him like this so they don’t have to pay him next year”, but you can’t really argue with manager Collins’s reluctance to use K-Rod for two innings in the second game of the season when they beat the Marlins 6-4 in 10 innings.

The Mets could’ve left him in to close it out after they took the lead, but he’d thrown 27 pitches in the bottom of the ninth as he allowed the tying run to score; he’s not accustomed to pitching more than one inning and isn’t particularly good at it; and Scott Hairston was sent up to pinch hit for K-Rod with runners on second and third to try and blow the game open after the Mets took the lead in the top of the tenth. Hairston struck out; Blaine Boyer got the save.

There hasn’t been the situation in which K-Rod is the logical and obvious choice and wasn’t used because of any perceived attempt to deprive him of a game finished on his stat sheet, but there undoubtedly will be at some point this season.

Will the Mets intentionally prevent K-Rod from finishing a game? Is the front office going to tell Collins to refrain from using K-Rod in a game to avoid it?

It’s possible; it might even be smart, but the only way I see it happening is if the Mets are out of contention and have no chance at a playoff spot. Then it makes perfect sense and there’s not very much K-Rod’s agents and the Players Association can do about it apart from filing a grievance. You can’t force a club to use a player in a specific role and if the Mets engage in any chicanery, the new front office will cloak it more effectively than the previous one would.

Either way, the only chance K-Rod has of being a Met in 2012 for that giant paycheck is if the team is in contention. That idea is very precarious considering their holes and competition.

Preventing the option is the sensible alternative because even without the current financial hardships hovering over the Mets organization, no one wants to pay $17.5 million for a closer; with that in mind, they’re going to do everything within their power to stop that from happening without it depriving the club of a chance at a playoff spot.

It’s business.

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Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long. It’s not a “preview”; it’s a guide.

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