Is Manny the tip of the iceberg?

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The doctor who allegedly prescribed Manny his drugs is under the federal microscope:

As Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez nears the end of his
50-game suspension, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators are
looking at a Miami doctor and his son as the source of his banned
performance-enhancing drug, sources familiar with the investigation
told ESPN . . . Investigators believe the prescription for human
chorionic gonadotropin, known as hCG, was written by Pedro Publio
Bosch, 71, a physician who has practiced family medicine in Florida
since 1976. His son, Anthony Bosch, 45, is believed to have worked as a
contact between his father and Ramirez . . .

. . . Anthony Bosch is well known in Latin American baseball
circles, sources say. His relationships with players date at least from
the earlier part of the decade, when he was seen attending parties with
players and known to procure tickets to big league ballparks,
especially in Boston and New York.

If a doctor is writing improper prescriptions, that’s usually a state
matter (i.e. the medical board). As far as a federal drug crime matter,
the case of Manny Ramirez in and of itself is so small its almost
non-existent. I mean, yes, there’s the suggestion of illegality here,
but there aren’t exactly hordes of marauding female fertility drug
lords shooting up the streets of border towns.

But read that last-quoted bit again — the part about the doctor’s son
knowing lots of ballplayers — and realize that the feds have generally
had their PED-interest limited to those cases in which there are
multiple athletes involved: BALCO, Radomski, McNamee, etc. Then realize
that, despite the fact that Latin players have constituted a
disproportionate number of positive drug tests since the beginning of
the testing program, very few of them were named in the Mitchell Report
or have had their names mentioned in any of the other high-profile
investigations.

Taken together, these facts lead me to wonder whether the Manny
Ramirez affair isn’t the beginning of the next big PED story. The
Latin-BALCO, if you will.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.