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Report: A-Rod’s representatives purchased the Biogenesis documents


Admit it: In your heart, you knew it was A-Rod. It’s OK. I thought it might have been too.

Last night the New York Times reported that Major League Baseball’s was attempting to purchase documents from the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic.  These documents, as was reported back in January, purport to show that multiple major league ballplayers — as many as 90 by some estimates — obtained banned performance enhancing drugs from Biogenesis and its operator Anthony Bosch.

The documents have formed the basis of a series of eye-opening reports on the matter, but thus far have only been obtained by various media outlets who have chosen not to share them with Major League Baseball. Major League Baseball, of course, would like to see them in order to investigate the reports of PED-using players and, ultimately, discipline said players.  Two weeks ago baseball sued Biogenesis in an effort to get the documents. Now the reports are that Major League Baseball is simply trying to buy them.

According to the New York times, these efforts were spurred by more than a mere desire to get them for baseball’s own sake. Rather, there were rumors that a ballplayer named in the documents was himself trying to purchase them, with an eye toward destroying them and, presumably, head off discipline. Delicious.

Now, Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times reports who that player is:

The full New York Times report, in which it is alleged that an associate of Alex Rodriguez purchased the documents, can be read here. For his part, Rodriguez’s representatives are flatly denying the report.

If there is an actual basis to this, one wonders if MLB might consider it enough, in and of itself, to consider A-Rod uncooperative with their investigation and thus suspend him summarily pursuant to the Joint Drug Agreement which requires players to cooperate with the league.

At the moment, though, I think MLB would really have to explain why it believes A-Rod was attempting to destroy them. What the basis for that is. Because that’s a pretty serious accusation to hurl without a strong foundation for it.

Either way, however, this story is getting out of control.  If A-Rod did destroy the documents he’s gone super villain on us.  If he did not, and MLB or its surrogates are spinning innuendo, they’ve gone mad instead.

Wait, what is the non-tender deadline again?

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For the next day and a half you’ll hear a lot about the non-tender deadline and/or players being tendered or not tendered a contract. Here, in case you’re unaware, is what that means.

By midnight on Wednesday teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player. Now, to be clear, the team is not simply “tendering” the player the actual contract specifying what he’ll be paid. Think of it as more of a token gesture — a placeholder contract — at that point the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2016 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement avoiding arbitration) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If the team non-tenders a player, however, that player immediately becomes a free agent, eligible to sign anywhere with no strings attached.

Basically, the calculus is whether or not the team thinks the player in question is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2015, he’s probably going to be non-tendered.

MLB Trade Rumors has a handy “Non-Tender Tracker” which lists the status of the couple hundred arbitration eligible players and whether or not they’ve been tendered a contract. We’ll, of course, make mention of notable non-tender guys as their status for 2016 becomes known over the next day or two.

Mariners interested in free agent outfielder Nori Aoki

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New Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto has kept pretty busy in his short time on the job and Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that free agent outfielder Nori Aoki could be his next target. The club recently pursued a trade for Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna, but the asking price has them looking at alternatives.

Aoki, who turns 34 in January, has hit .287 with a .353 on-base percentage over four seasons since coming over from Japan. He was having a fine season with the Giants this year prior to being shut down in September with lingering concussion symptoms.

The Giants decided against picking up Aoki’s $5.5 million club option for 2016 earlier this month, but he should still do pretty well for himself this winter assuming he’s feeling good.

Report: Johnny Cueto is believed to be looking for a $140-160 million deal

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It was reported Sunday that free agent right-hander Johnny Cueto had turned down a six-year, $120 million contract from the Diamondbacks. He’s hoping to land a bigger deal this winter and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has heard some chatter about what he’s looking for.

Jordan Zimmermann finalized a five-year, $110 million contract with the Tigers today, which works out to $22 million per season. Arizona’s offer to Cueto checked in at $20 million per season. A six-year offer to Cueto at the same AAV (average annual value) as Zimmermann would put him at $132 million, which is still a little shy of the figure stated by Crasnick. Of course, Cueto owns a 2.71 ERA (145 ERA+) over the last five seasons compared to a 3.14 ERA (123 ERA+) by Zimmermann during that same timespan, so there’s a case to be made that he should get more. Still, he’s the clear No. 3 starter on the market behind David Price and Zack Greinke.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Cubs are among the other teams who have interest in Cueto. One variable in his favor is that he is not attached to draft pick compensation, as he was traded from the Reds to the Royals during the 2015 season.

Report: Around 20 teams have contacted the Braves about Shelby Miller

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The rebuilding Braves have already been active on the trade market and they might not be done, as CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that right-hander Shelby Miller has been a very popular name. In fact, around 20 teams have checked in.

Nothing is considered close and the Braves have set a very high asking price, mostly centered around offense. They asked for right-hander Luis Severino in talks with the Yankees and would expect outfielder Marcell Ozuna among other pieces from the Marlins. The Diamondbacks and Giants are among the other interested clubs.

Miller is under team control through 2018, so there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency to move him, but anything is possible with the way the Braves are doing things right now. The 25-year-old is coming off a year where he went 6-17, but that was about really rotten luck more than anything else, as he had a fine 3.02 ERA and 171/73 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The Braves gave him the worst run support of any starter in the majors.