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

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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.

Orioles plotting late-offseason push? Gallardo, Fowler, Alvarez, Bruce in consideration

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Baltimore’s front office appears to be lining up a run of potential roster additions leading into the beginning of spring training.

We’ve already passed along the reports suggesting they are close to a three-year deal with free agent starter Yovani Gallardo, but now FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler could be next on the Orioles’ target list. It they get those two deals done, the O’s could then chase free agent slugger Pedro Alvarez.

Rosenthal says the Orioles are even eyeing Jay Bruce of the Reds, though the FOX reporter hears the O’s might not have the prospects to pull off that kind of trade.

The focus for the Orioles out of the gate this winter was re-signing Matt Wieters and Chris Davis. Wieters accepted his one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer in November and Davis was locked up to a seven-year, $161 million contract in mid-January.

Now the O’s are spending a little leftover cash on late-offseason additions to improve their position in what should be a tight 2016 American League East race.

Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.