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MLB, feds investigating adviser to A-Rod and other players in PED probe

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The New York Daily News reports that The Drug Enforcement Administration and Major League Baseball are investigating a Miami-area man named Anthony Bosch for possible links to performance-enhancing drugs.  The significance of Bosch: he has been an adviser on training, nutrition and dietary supplements to Alex Rodriguez and other Latin ballplayers in south Florida.

Bosch is not a new name to people who follow the PED news, as MLB first investigated Bosch and his father, Dr. Pedro Bosch, for their ties to Manny Ramirez back in 2009 when he first tested positive for PEDs when with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Pedro Bosch provided Ramirez the prescription for the female fertility drugs he was taking, and it was reported then that Ramirez had a relationship with Anthony Bosch, as did many other players.

The question I have is what’s new here?  We wrote about baseball and the feds’ interest in Pedro and Anthony Bosch here at HardballTalk back in 2009, wondering whether this wasn’t some “Latin American BALCO” situation. Nothing of note has been reported since then, but obviously MLB has had cause to focus more closely on Bosch now to inspire what the Daily News describes as “an ongoing probe.”

The story notes the rise of the use of synthetic testosterone and human growth hormone in Major League Baseball.  It’s possible, then, that new information has arisen connecting the Bosch family to the spike in use of these substances.  Which, based on positive test results anyway, have disproportionately implicated Latin ballplayers.  No one connected to the investigation is commenting, however, so it’s unclear.

One thing that is interesting, though, is the Daily News’ focus on A-Rod here.  While there is clearly a connection between Bosch and Rodriguez making reference to him totally legitimate, A-Rod has not tested positive for anything nor has he otherwise been tied to PEDs since his admission to prior use several years ago.  Does this suggest that his name may soon be connected to PEDs anew? Or is this just an instance of a New York paper leading with the big name to snag eyeballs?

Definitely worth watching going forward.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.