There have been multiple leaks about the Biogenesis investigation in the past couple of months. The union’s head — Michael Weiner — is sick of it. He just released this statement:
“The leaking of confidential information to members of the media interferes with the thoroughness and credibility of the Biogenesis investigation. These repeated leaks threaten to harm the integrity of the Joint Drug Agreement and call into question the required level of confidentiality needed to operate a successful prevention program. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged the results of the investigation based on unsubstantiated leaks that are a clear violation of the Joint Drug Agreement.”
The source of the leaks is an interesting topic. I know many have assumed they’ve come from Major League Baseball — and I initially suspected this myself — but I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. Yes, it’s possible that MLB has something to gain by looking tough and talking about impending discipline, but they seem to have much more to lose if (a) they ultimately decide not to go with 100 game suspensions or if their investigation takes longer than the leaks suggest it will; or (b) if they are ultimately unsuccessful in sticking it to Ryan Braun and the gang of 20. There would be a lot of “oh, the league talked big, but …” and that just doesn’t reflect well on them.
At the same time, last year, when Ryan Braun’s appeal was leaked, many suspected Major League Baseball too. Then, however, Weiner actually gave a statement to head off that speculation, saying that the leak did not come from the league or the union. He also stopped short of pointing at the league here, when in similar instances, way back in the day, Don Fehr or someone wouldn’t have shown such restraint.
My guess: the leaks are coming from a player’s legal team or agent or something. We can’t know for sure, but that’s where I’d put my money if people took bets on such things.
The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.
So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.
I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.
Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.
All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?
Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.
Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.
Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.