Report: MLB plans to file lawsuit against Anthony Bosch and others connected to Biogenesis

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With MLB increasingly desperate to get their hands on any evidence to discipline players connected to the Biogenesis clinic, they have come up with an interesting new strategy. According to Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times, MLB plans to file a lawsuit on Friday against multiple people connected to Biogenesis, including the clinic’s owner, Anthony Bosch, and Juan Nunez, who has worked for the Levinson brothers at ACES Group and was an associate to Melky Cabrera.

And get this, the lawsuit will allege that “the individuals damaged the sport by providing some of the game’s biggest stars with performance-enhancing drugs.” While MLB will try to recoup money from those targeted, the main goal is to get some sort of cooperation with their investigation, either through “documentary evidence or witness testimony.” MLB is having a tough time building a case against players who didn’t test positive for performance-enhancing drugs, so if the lawsuit was to proceed, it could allow them subpoena records from the clinic and potentially give them the evidence needed to hand down suspensions. Subpoena power is a big key, as MLB hasn’t been able to get any cooperation from law enforcement up until now.

While you have to credit MLB for their creativity here, many are skeptical whether it will hold up in court. For what it’s worth, sources told ESPN’s T.J. Quinn that it’s believed that Bosch destroyed all remaining documents from the clinic. So even if the lawsuit proceeds, MLB might not get the evidence they want.

There have been multiple reports over the past week that MLB has focused their investigation on Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez, even offering immunity to those willing to provide information. However, MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday that every player who has been connected to Biogenesis and the Miami New Times report is being investigated with “equal vigor.”

Must-Click Link: Do the players even care about money anymore?

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Yesterday I wrote about how the union has come to find itself in the extraordinarily weak position it’s in. The upshot: their leadership and their membership, happily wealthy by virtue of gains realized in the 1970s-1990s, has chosen to focus on small, day-to-day, quality of life issues rather than big-picture financial issues. As a result, ownership has cleaned their clock in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. If the union is to ever get back the considerable amount of ground it has lost over the past 15 years, it’ll require a ton of hard work and perhaps drastic measures.

A few hours later, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan dropped an absolute must-read that expands on that topic. Through weeks of interviews with league officials, agents and players, he explains why the free agent market is as bad as it is for players right now and why so many of them and so many fans seem not to understand just how bad a spot the players are in, business wise.

Passan keys on the media’s credulousness regarding teams’ stated rationales for not spending in free agency. About how, with even a little bit of scrutiny, the “[Team] wants to get below the luxury tax” argument makes no sense. About how the claim that this is a weak free agent class, however true that may be, does not explain why so few players are being signed.  About how so few teams seem interested in actually competing and how fans, somehow, seem totally OK with it.

Passan makes a compelling argument, backed by multiple sources, that, even if there is a lot of money flowing around, the fundamental financial model of the game is broken. The young players are the most valuable but are paid pennies while players with 6-10 years service time are the least valuable yet are the ones, theoretically anyway, positioned to make the most money. The owners have figured it out. The union has dropped the ball as it has worried about, well, whatever the heck it is worried about. The killer passage on all of this is damning in this regard:

During the negotiations leading to the 2016 basic agreement that governs baseball, officials at MLB left bargaining stupefied almost on a daily basis. Something had changed at the MLBPA, and the league couldn’t help but beam at its good fortune: The core principle that for decades guided the union no longer seemed a priority.

“It was like they didn’t care about money anymore,” one league official said.

Personally, I don’t believe that they don’t care about money anymore. I think the union has simply dropped the ball on educating its membership about the business structure of the game and the stakes involved with any given rule in the CBA. I think that they either so not understand the financial implications of that to which they have agreed or are indifferent to them because they do not understand their scope and long term impact.

It’s a union’s job to educate its membership about the big issues that may escape any one member’s notice — like the long term effects of a decision about the luxury tax or amateur and international salary caps — and convince them that it’s worth fighting for. Does the MLBPA do that? Does it even try? If it hasn’t tried for the past couple of cycles and it suddenly starts to now, will there be a player civil war, with some not caring to jeopardize their short term well-being for the long term gain of the players who follow them?

If you care at all about the business and financial aspects of the game, Passan’s article is essential.