This morning I linked a story about the feds taking an interest in Biogenesis and investigating whether or not it sold drugs to high schoolers and things. The Daily News has a more thorough story about it here.
I hadn’t thought of this before — my lawyer skills are atrophied, it seems — but a friend of mine just pointed out that this set of circumstances could possibly present a problem for Major League Baseball.
The problem: as a target of a federal investigation, Bosch would be well-advised to clam the heck up. If he testifies or speaks anywhere, his comments will be used against him in any subsequent criminal proceedings. That includes if he speaks at, say, an arbitration following a ballplayer’s appeal of a Major League Baseball suspension. If Bosch has a good lawyer, that lawyer is telling him NOT to go on the record anyplace if he fears federal prosecution. Especially given that his testimony at an MLB arbitration would be all about how he sold drugs to people.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily create a huge problem. For one thing, Bosch’s former employee, Porter Fischer is both cooperating with the feds and Major League Baseball. It could very well be that baseball is relying way more on him than Bosch and that his testimony would be sufficient. It’s also possible that Bosch himself is under no illusions that he’s going to escape federal pain and could very well make a deal with the feds in time to help baseball if they need his testimony to sustain player discipline.
But it is an interesting wrinkle. One that, if you were a lawyer for a player trying to decide whether or not to appeal Biogenesis discipline, could certainly impact your thinking on the matter.
Colby Rasmus isn’t ready to take outfield reps just yet. According to Rays’ manager Kevin Cash, that’s a red flag, one that could potentially postpone Rasmus’ debut as the club’s designated hitter and outfielder in 2017. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Rasmus will need to prove he can play a defensive position before getting cleared for the active roster, something which the veteran outfielder has yet to do this spring.
Rasmus, 30, signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Rays following his two-year run with the Astros. He batted a meager .206/.286/.355 with 15 home runs and a .641 OPS in 2016 and was shut down in late September with an unspecified hip/groin issue. Entering the 2017 season, he’s expected to work his way back to a full-time role after undergoing surgery to repair his core muscle and left hip labrum last October.
The Rays also finalized their one-year, $1.2 million deal with catcher Derek Norris on Saturday and will need to clear room for him on the 40-man roster. Topkin speculates that the move could send Rasmus to the 60-day disabled list, though the outfielder is not projected to miss more than a couple weeks of the regular season.
The Rangers have reportedly agreed to a six-year, $49.5 million extension for second baseman Rougned Odor, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports and Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The extension comes with a club option for a seventh year, Heyman adds.
It’s close to the six-year, $52.5 million extension Jason Kipnis netted with the Indians in 2014, a sum Odor was rumored to be seeking during contract negotiations over the last two years. Granted, the circumstances are a little different this time around. Both players signed extensions on the cusp of their fourth year in the major leagues, but at 27 years old, Kipnis was coming off of an All-Star campaign and a career-high 4.5 fWAR performance. Odor, meanwhile, saw mixed results in 2016, batting 33 home runs and putting up 2.0 fWAR while struggling to stay consistent at the plate and exhibiting poor defense.
According to MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan, Odor previously agreed to a $563,180 salary for 2017. Depending on when the extension kicks in, it should cover all three of Odor’s arbitration-eligible seasons and two seasons of potential free agency. The team has yet to confirm the extension.