Drug case arbitrator: Anthony Bosch’s “credibility is everything”

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Here’s an interesting take on the potential for mega discipline against scores of players arising out of Biogenesis.

Richard McLaren is an attorney who has presided as an arbitrator over multiple arbitration cases exactly like the one which may involve Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and others in the event they get disciplined: appeals of non-analytical cases. Meaning drug suspensions based on testimony or other evidence as opposed to a positive drug test.

He appeared on on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM with Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette today, and talked a lot about the potential Biogenesis appeals and how difficult they may be for Major League Baseball given that their star witness is Anthony Bosch. The key takeaway: “Credibility is everything. If he turns out to not be a credible witness, there’s not much of a case.”

Not that it’d be impossible. McLaren notes what anyone who has dealt with criminal doings or drug-related unseemliness knows: there are a lot of scumbags hanging around. And he talks about ways Major League Baseball can deal with his prima facie credibility problems.  But it’s impossible to deny that if Major League Baseball does proceed with Bosch out front of its case against the players, making any discipline stick is going to be a pretty risky proposition.

Bryce Harper will not be discussing his impending free agency with the media

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Bryce Harper is entering his walk year and it is widely expected that the Scott Boras client will, indeed, test out free agency next fall rather than engage in any substantial way with the Washington Nationals about a contract extension. There were some “casual conversations” between the parties in the early fall of 2017, but the Nats came away from that, quite reasonably, believing that Harper, who stands to land the largest contract in baseball history, will shop around.

For his part, Harper met the media on his first day of spring training workouts and let everyone know that, no, he does not plan to answer questions about his potential free agency every day between now and November. From MASN:

“Just want to let you guys know I will not be discussing anything relative to 2019, at all,” said Harper. “I’m focused on this year. I’m focused on winning and playing hard, like every single year. So if you guys have any questions about anything after 2018, you can call Scott and he can answer you guys.”

Makes sense. The alternative would be for Harper to give the same canned “I’m only focused on our next game” responses in front of his locker 150 times this summer, and that doesn’t serve anyone.

Thinking back to any other impending free agent’s comments about his free agency, I can’t remember a story along those lines which was worth much of anything. The genre generally consists of headlines which oversell an innocuous or offhand comment from a player as a means of guessing where his head is at with respect to his current team. I can’t think of any story in which a player, during his walk year, said something that concretely and definitively signaled his intensions in free agency one way or the other.

Reporters covering the Nationals who are curious as to how Harper feels about his current team at any given time would be better served just observing and inferring, with particular attention paid to how Harper and his teammates view the Nats’ competitive position as the season goes on, how they react to trades and stuff like that. There’s a lot of guesswork in all of that, but it sure beats trying to get a media savvy player like Harper to admit, after going 1-for-4 against the Phillies, where he plans to spend the next seven to ten years of his professional life.