Report: Biogenesis players ready to accept their bans

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Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that, Alex Rodriguez excepted, the rest of the players involved in the Biogenesis scandal are ready to accept suspensions or 50 games or more.

Sources told Passan that the suspensions will come down within 72 hours. The AP is reporting that Friday could be the day. Among those expected to be suspended are the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz, the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta and the Padres’ Everth Cabrera. Passan adds that there still may be major leaguers suspended we don’t yet know about. However, Biogenesis players caught with PEDs in their system and suspended last year (Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal) aren’t expected to face further punishment.

According to Passan:

MLB set 50 games as a baseline for players involved with Biogenesis, sources said, and those who did not cooperate during the investigation agreed to receive additional penalties of double-digit games.

That would explain the Ryan Braun agreement: 50 games for the PED use, plus 15 additional games for his lack of cooperation. Though it still hardly seems right that not cooperating with the investigation is grounds for an additional penalty.

As for Rodriguez, he still plans to be a holdout, despite all of the evidence against him. And multiple reports have indicated that MLB has more ammo to use against Rodriguez than it does the rest of Bosch’s clients. But MLB is also seemingly going after Rodriguez unlike any of the other players, threatening him with an 150-game or maybe even a lifetime suspension. If A-Rod chooses to appeal his suspension, the league could prevent him from playing anyway under the “best interests of baseball” clause.

Passan also notes that much of the evidence working against the players comes in the form of text messages between the players and Tony Bosch that detail the cash-for-drugs transactions.

Besides Cruz, Peralta and Cabrera, suspensions are also expected to be handed down to the Mariners’ Jesus Montero, the Yankees’ Francisco Cervelli and Fernando Martinez, the Mets’ Cesar Puello and free agents Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto. Of those players, Cervelli is the only current major leaguer, though he’s been on the DL since April. Montero also counts as a major leaguer for suspension purposes, since he’s still on the 40-man roster after being demoted to Triple-A by Seattle.

Should Cruz and Peralta accept their suspensions as indicated, the Rangers and Tigers would be weakened for the stretch run. The Rangers are already actively hunting for outfield help. The Tigers aren’t being mentioned in connection with shortstops, but they may be trying to do something behind the scenes. Both Cruz and Peralta have extra incentive to accept the suspensions, since they’re free agents at season’s end and would struggle to find offers with the bans hanging over their heads.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.