Nelson Cruz, Gary Pettis

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.

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.