A source familiar with the Biogenesis investigation tells HardballTalk that Major League Baseball plans to interview all of the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal by the end of June. Then, at that point, it will make a decision on whether to pursue discipline and how. The plan is for discipline to be leveled — if it is, indeed, leveled — by the first week of July. Pursuant to the Joint Drug Agreement players will then have the right to appeal if discipline is imposed.
This information confirms ESPN’s Outside the Lines report from last night that Major League Baseball’s investigation of Biogenesis is proceeding. However, any speculation that Major League Baseball has already decided to discipline the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal or that it has already decided to impose any specific penalties, be they 50- or 100-game suspensions, was premature. The league’s investigation is being assisted by clinic founder Tony Bosch, the source confirmed.
When contacted by HardballTalk, Major League Baseball officials did not comment on the story.
Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and Melky Cabrera of the Toronto Blue Jays – who received a 50-game suspension last season for the use of PEDs – are among the 20 players reportedly being targeted by MLB.
Braun issued a stern denial this morning, while Cabrera told USA Today Sports: “I don’t know anything about it. This is the first I hear of it. If they suspend me again, I think that would be a harsh punishment because I already served my sentence. But it’s up to them.”
Rodriguez, once considered a threat to break the sport’s all-time home run record, admitted to ESPN four years ago that he used performance-enhancing drugs earlier in his career, when he played for the Texas Rangers.
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.