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.”
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
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.
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.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.