Ryan Braun AP

Report: Biogenesis employee demanding $1 million for his documents

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Well, this has devolved into farce. Porter Fischer, the ex-Biogenesis employee who claims to have a so-called “smoking gun” regarding Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and the rest of the Biogenesis players, has demanded $1 million from Major League Baseball for his cooperation. From TMZ:

Alex Rodriguez’ career could hang in the balance of a 7-figure check — because sources tell TMZ, the whistleblower who allegedly has proof A-Rod and other players bought steroids wants at least a million bucks for his info … Fischer’s attorney tells TMZ, his client discussed a possible deal with MLB … in which the league would acquire the drug-purchasing records of more than 100 MLB players (including A-Rod and Ryan Braun) — but it’s gonna cost ’em.

TMZ says MLB has not made an offer. Given that this Fischer dude appears to be something of [searches for a polite word] an eccentric, one wonders whether baseball is willing to play ball with him.  Of course, if he does cooperate with MLB the first question is going to be whether Major League Baseball made him rich in order to offer evidence against players, so that’s fun too.

UPDATE: Just occurred to me: Major League Baseball has a lawsuit pending against Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch. Fischer was an employee and now claims to have all the information about the operation. Why doesn’t MLB simply amend the lawsuit to add Fischer and then obtain the documents in discovery? That would not cost $1 million. That would cost virtually nothing.  Could it be that, perhaps, MLB realizes its lawsuit is baloney? Or, perhaps, that Fischer actually doesn’t know anything and thus is not a proper party? In which case his status as the Whistleblower-in-Chief/star witness is kinda silly?

Which is it, Mr. Selig?

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.

The Dodgers asked the Tigers about Justin Verlander this offseason

DETROIT, MI - MAY 18: Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning of the game against the Minnesota Twins on May 18, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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File this under “man, that would’ve been cool.” Or, if you’re a Tigers fan, file it under “man, that would’ve signaled several years of misery.” However you fall on the matter, however, know that, according to Jon Heyman, the Dodgers inquired about trading for Justin Verlander over the winter.

It never went anywhere, but it’s not like it was silliness for the Dodgers to ask. As you may recall, the Tigers were reported to be willing to listen to offers on any and all players back in November, as GM Al Avila contemplated a tear-down. That never came to pass — the Tigers had a quiet offseason and are keeping the team together to make another run at the playoffs with the Verlander/Miguel Cabrera core — but it couldn’t hurt to ask.

Verlander, who is coming off a resurgent season which saw him return to form as one of baseball’s best pitchers, has 10-5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade. He’s married to an actress/model, however, owns a home in L.A., and the Dodgers are a clear contender, so there’s a good chance he would’ve allowed such a trade to happen. Heck, dude even loves pitchers batting, so a chance to do it all the time would be right up his alley.

The bigger issue likely would’ve been Verlander’s $28 million salary. The Dodgers already pay the luxury tax so taking on that commitment would cost them more than the sticker price. And, of course, if the Tigers are going to ever give up one of the best players in franchise history, it would take the motherlode of prospects to do it.

So, no, a Verlander-to-L.A. trade wasn’t ever a strong possibility. But even the slight possibility seems exciting in hindsight. It was a boring as hell offseason.