Jhonny Peralta, Jim Leyland, Tony Randazzo

Looking at the potentially suspended Biogenesis players

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Let’s run down the list of players connected to Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic as MLB is reportedly preparing to issue 50- or 100-game suspensions. Listed below are players whose names are found in the Biogenesis documents. Other major leaguers may well be involved, as some of Bosch’s clients were listed in code. Since Bosch is set to cooperate with MLB in its investigation, this list could grow significantly longer soon. According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, MLB is preparing to suspend players who purchased illegal substances from Bosch for 50 or 100 games, even if it means ruining the season in the process.

The Players

Alex Rodriguez (3B Yankees): Sidelined since Opening Day following offseason hip surgery, Rodriguez, who admitted to using steroids a decade ago but was never suspended, has been aiming to return to the Yankees lineup in July. Players suspended for steroid use while on the disabled list are able to serve those suspensions while injured, so if Rodriguez were to receive a 50-game ban in the near future, he could still return in August. A 100-game ban, on the other hand, would essentially end his season.

Ryan Braun (OF Brewers): Braun was originally set to be suspended for a positive PED test in Dec. 2011, only to have it wiped out on appeal. Of course, that was all supposed to go on behind closed doors, but it leaked to the media not long after Braun won NL MVP honors in 2011. This year, Braun is hitting .294 with nine homers for a disappointing Brewers team. He’s currently third in the outfield in the NL All-Star balloting, putting him in position for a spot in the starting lineup in the Midseason Classic.

Melky Cabrera (OF Blue Jays), Bartolo Colon (RHP Athletics) and Yasmani Grandal (C Padres): All three players here tested positive for steroids before MLB had any knowledge of Bosch’s operation and have already served 50-game suspensions. If MLB is going to try banning A-Rod and Braun for 100 games (50 games for cheating and 50 games for lying about it), then it could deliver additional 50-game suspensions to this trio. Still, that seems like quite a reach. These guys have already done their time.

Nelson Cruz (OF Rangers): The 32-year-old Cruz has a ton to lose here, since he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. His team would greatly suffer without him as well, and his absence could lead to Jurickson Profar being tried in the outfield. Cruz is batting .267 with 13 homers and 39 RBI this year, making him a candidate for AL All-Star honors.

Jhonny Peralta (SS Tigers): The Tigers might be the contender most adversely affected should these penalties come to pass; Peralta has been the AL’s top offensive shortstop this year, hitting .332 with six homers and 26 RBI, and the Tigers just don’t have any decent options to fill his shoes. Utilityman Ramon Santiago is long past his prime, and Danny Worth is injured in Triple-A. Like Cruz, Peralta is also a free agent this winter.

Everth Cabrera (SS Padres): Cabrera led the NL in stolen bases with 44 last year, but he was still a rather anonymous figure outside of San Diego. This year, he’s been getting more attention, thanks in part to some added power. He has four homers in 57 games after hitting two in 115 games in 2012, and his OPS has climbed by more than 100 points. He’s still a force on the basepaths, too, leading the majors with 23 steals.

Francisco Cervelli (C Yankees): One can imagine Cervelli, who played in 178 games as the Yankees’ primary backup catcher from 2009-11, was looking for something a little extra last year after being banished to the minors and thus turned to Bosch for help. Following Russell Martin’s departure, he won the starting job this spring and was off to an excellent start (.269/.377/.500, three homers in 52 at-bats) before going down with a fractured right hand. Barring a suspension, he’s due to rejoin the Yankees lineup in late June.

Jesus Montero (C-DH Mariners): A former Yankees prospect, Montero was dealt to the Mariners prior to 2012 and had a decent rookie season last year, hitting .260 with 15 homers. This year, he was a huge bust as a starting catcher, hitting .208 with three homers in 101 at-bats, and he was sent back to Triple-A late last month. Just 23, he’s still a promising hitter, but his future is at first base or DH. He’s currently on the minor league DL after tearing knee cartilage.

Fernando Martinez (OF Astros): Martinez was once one of the game’s very best prospects while in the Mets chain, but he’s never been able to stay healthy and he’s now a long shot to enjoy a lengthy major league career. After hitting .182 in 11 games for the Astros earlier this year, he was dropped from the roster and cleared waivers. He’s now back in Triple-A.

Fautino De Los Santos (RHP free agent): De Los Santos was a strong prospect in the White Sox system before undergoing Tommy John surgery and converting to relief. He looked like a fine bullpen arm as a rookie in 2011, striking out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings for the A’s, but he showed up in 2012 which diminished stuff and has bounced around since. The Padres released him last month.

Jordan Norberto (LHP free agent): Norberto had a 2.77 ERA in 52 innings of relief work for the A’s last year, but he struggled this spring and got hurt. Oakland released him last month.

Cesar Puello (OF Mets): Puello, 22, has been a breakout performer in the Mets system this year, hitting .302/.382/.521 with eight homers and 15 steals for Double-A Binghamton. That slugging percentage is nearly 100 points higher than his previous career high.

Unlikely to be suspended

Gio Gonzalez (LHP Nationals): Gonzalez is believed to have been a Biogenesis buyer, but only of legal substances. Two sources told ESPN that Gonzalez is probably off the hook as far as any punishments go.

Robinson Cano (2B Yankees): Cano’s known connection with Biogenesis is very tenuous: the spokeswoman for his charitable foundation was named in Bosch’s documents. That was enough to get Cano on MLB’s watchlist, but if anything more significant has turned up, the league has kept it quiet.

Marc Rzepczynski signs two-year, $11 million contract with Mariners

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 9: Marc Rzepczynski #23 of the Washington Nationals looks on before pitching against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning during game two of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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After rumors of the deal surfaced on Thursday, the Mariners officially signed veteran reliever Marc Rzepczynski to a two-year, $11 million deal on Friday night. Per a report by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the lefty is due $5.5 million in 2017 and 2018.

The signing marks the left-hander’s fourth trade since July 2015. He bounced from the Indians to the Padres at the 2015 trade deadline, then to the Athletics in the offseason, then to the Nationals in late August of 2016. Last season, he pitched to a career-best 2.64 ERA during 47 2/3 innings with the Athletics and Nationals, but hit an all-time low with 5.5 BB/9 that fed into a 1.59 K/BB rate. While the 31-year-old’s split against right-handed batters are underwhelming (a career .277/.377/.431 line with 123 walks and 24 home runs), he’s held lefties to a respectable .222/.291/.298 line with just 52 walks and eight homers.

Adding Rzepczynski to the bullpen should check off another to-do item for Mariners’ GM Jerry Dipoto, though FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman notes that the club is still likely to pursue an additional reliever and a No. 4 starter before the offseason comes to a close.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.