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Is Biogenesis casting a shadow over the trade deadline?

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It seems like all baseball news has been overshadowed by the looming Biogenesis suspensions and the circus that is Alex Rodriguez’s, Major League Baseball’s and the New York Yankees’ public feud. Indeed, as this week began it appeared as though today’s trade deadline would be a mere afterthought. Or, if not an afterthought, that it would be subservient to the Biogenesis drama, with teams looking to desperately cover for players they will lose to suspension.

Things have calmed down considerably in the past 24, hours, however.

For one thing, one of the teams that stood to be most adversely affected by Biogenesis suspensions — the Tigers, who will almost certainly lose Jhonny Peralta — filled their imminent shortstop hole with Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox. That, combined with the news that baseball is not likely to suspend Bartolo Colon due to him already having been punished for taking the substances he received from Biogenesis means that only one team currently in the playoff hunt stands to lose a significant player. That being the Texas Rangers and Nelson Cruz, according to multiple reports. Other players named in multiple reports include the Padres’ Everth Cabrera, whose team is not in contention, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, who is on the 60-day DL with a broken hand. Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season, but with his team far from contention, it’s unlikely the Brewers were going to do anything but sell anyways.

For another — and maybe I’m just imagining this — Major League Baseball appears to be settling on Friday as D-Day in the Biogenesis mess. Last night Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reported that the timeframe would be “within the next 72 hours” — a report that was later confirmed by multiple sources — as opposed to dropping their bomb at or around today’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Maybe this is a matter of MLB still having work to do before issuing suspensions. Maybe it’s a matter of the league wanting to bury bad news on a Friday afternoon like politicians so often do. But maybe — just maybe — it’s a matter of MLB appreciating that the trade deadline chatter and commentary is pretty good for its brand and deciding to let that stuff have the limelight today.

The addition of a second wild card in each league also could be depressing trade activity, because teams are hesitant to sell while they still are in contention. Teams still need to sell tickets for the stretch run, and surrendering before August is no way to do that. Besides, there’s always the chance that a club goes on a late-season run.

MLB commended Braun for taking responsibility for his actions and said it wanted to resolve this issue, but otherwise has been publicly silent about the Biogenesis suspensions. Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, said in a radio interview this week that his client planned to fight the suspension.

“When the time comes and baseball does whatever it is going to do, then I will sit down with Alex and talk to him about the process of the appeal, filing the appeal and going in and presenting our best evidence that we have — and we think we have good evidence — to defend his interest, to protect him. That’s what I expect to be doing,” Cornwell told Stephen A. Smith, who was hosting the Michael Kay Show.

Rodriguez will always dominate the news, especially in New York. A-Rod would lead New York sports news for years even if he joined a religious sect that had him swear off sports, public appearances and money. He’s always the story in Gotham. But outside of that crazy media environment trades and playoff races seem to have been thrust to the fore last night and today.

Maybe Major League Baseball will fall back on old bad-P.R. habits and drop it’s bad news bombs after lunch today. But for now it seems pretty darn refreshing that we can focus on what’s truly good about baseball than what is, quite frankly, a major, major drag.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

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.