Melky Cabrera’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES, have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the attempted coverup of Melky Cabrera’s positive test for testosterone following an investigation by the MLB players’ association. In other words, the union has apparently agreed with the notion that former ACES consultant Juan Nunez acted alone in the fake website/supplement scam. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports has the scoop.
Upon Cabrera’s 50-game suspension, the union launched an investigation into ACES, which provided more than 1,000 pages of emails, phone records, personnel records and other documents, according to the memo. The union also spoke with the Levinsons and other ACES employees, a contractor who handles information technology for ACES and two co-conspirators of Nunez. All current employees were cleared of wrongdoing in the Cabrera case.
ACES’ cooperation into the investigation, as well as its previous compliance with Agent Regulations, worked in the agency’s favor, the sources said.
Also of note, the union will not investigate past allegations from the Mitchell Report or former ACES client Paul Lo Duca which link the Levinsons to performance-enhancing drugs. The union is expected to discipline the agency for how they handled the Nunez situation, but it’s not clear how they will be punished. However, Passan obtained a memo that was distributed to ACES clients which said any sanctions “will not compromise ACES’ ability to represent you in contract negotiations.”
This is a big win for an agency which has lost clients like Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Nyjer Morgan and Everth Cabrera over the past couple of months. While none of their exits were believed to be related to the Cabrera fallout, the Levinsons’ reputation has really been through the wringer from a public relations perspective.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.