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.

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers 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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According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
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The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.