Jon Heyman talks to some MLB insiders and reports that, yes Virginia, suspensions are looming in the Biogenesis scandal:
Major League Baseball has started interviewing big leaguers linked to the Miami PED investigation, and people who have spoken to MLB investigators are convinced there will be at least some suspensions handed down in the explosive case.
This is just speculation on my part, but given that Heyman tends to be more plugged-in on the player/agent side, those “people who have spoken to MLB investigators” could very well be the lawyers and/or agents for players interviewed. Worth noting that, in my experience, when your client is interviewed by authorities of any type, they tend have a good sense of how much trouble they’re in.
So if suspensions are coming, that leads one to ask (a) when?; and (b) will it be public? For as Heyman also notes, one of the more interesting issues is whether or not MLB is obligated to keep the names of suspended players confidential pending their appeal. MLB believes that they don’t have to if the names have already been made public, many of which have here. The union believes, however, that per the Joint Drug Agreement, suspensions can only be announced after appeals have run their course.
My reading of the JDA supports the union side. But practicality suggests that keeping it confidential will be close to impossible due to the fact that the appeals here will involve multi-day and possibly multi-week hearings with players and lawyers going back and forth and into and out of office buildings on offdays or, quite possibly, game days. It’s gonna be known.
Anyway: brace yourselves. A circus is coming.
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.