One thing many of the Biogenesis players have in common is their representation: Nelson Cruz, Jordany Valdespin, Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Melky Cabrera, are all represented by ACES, the agency headed by Seth and Sam Levinson. You probably first heard of ACES’ connection to PEDs last year when it was named in stories arising out of Cabrera’s efforts to set up a fake website to explain away his positive drug test.
A more significant name which spun out of that website story, however, is one Juan Carlos Nunez, a “paid consultant” of ACES who is said to have been the one who set up Melky’s website. As the New York Daily News reported last winter, MLB banned Nunez from associating with any of the 30 MLB clubs, and from all team facilities. The Players Association censured the Levinsons for not adequately supervising Nunez, but the agency maintained certification.
Despite multiple clients appearing in the Biogenesis records, a source tells NBCSports.com that Nunez was freelancing, essentially, and that “there is absolutely no evidence” that ACES knew of Juan Nunez’s activities. This would jibe with the Daily News’ report that Nunez was a frequent visitor to Bosch’s clinic.
The source says that MLB and the union are looking at ACES once again now that the investigation of Biogenesis players is nearing an end, but there is no indication that the agency will face any discipline or further censure.
Pirates minor leaguers Gift Ngoepe and Dovydas Neverauskas (pictured) were arrested on Sunday morning in Toledo, Ohio after a bar brawl, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports, citing documents provided by the Toledo Municipal Court.
Ngoepe was charged with one count of simple assault and two counts of resisting arrest. Neverauskas was charged with two outs of resisting arrest and one count of misconduct. Tigers minor leaguer Warwick Saupold was involved as well and was arrested for simple assault.
Saupold allegedly punched Andrey Goncharuk (not a player for either teams’ affiliates) in the face outside of the Bronze Boar bar, which is across from the Toledo Mud Hens’ ballpark. Ngoepe allegedly wrapped his arms around the police officer who was attempting to arrest Saupold. Ngoepe allegedly twisted free from the officer and walked away. Neverauskas allegedly interfered with an officer and yelled, “What are you going to do, shoot me?” after being ordered to stand on the sidewalk.
Ngoepe, 26, is in his second season with Triple-A Indianapolis. The shortstop has put up a meager .644 OPS in 373 plate appearances.
Neverauskas, 23, was promoted to Indianapolis in mid-June. In 25 relief appearances, he posted a 3.60 ERA with a 24/11 K/BB ratio in 30 innings. The right-hander, who appeared in the 2016 Futures Game last month, is rated as the Pirates’ 25th-best prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Saupold, 26, has appeared briefly in the majors for the Tigers this season, yielding eight runs on 17 hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings. He made five appearances from May 14 to 31 and one more on August 12 before returning to Triple-A Toledo.
Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig has been claimed on waivers by an as-yet unknown team. The Dodgers can now attempt to work out a trade with the claiming team, or simply give that team Puig. In that case, the claiming team would assume the responsibility for the remainder of Puig’s seven-year, $42 million contract, which has two years and $14 million left. The Dodgers can also pull him back from waivers if they can’t work out a deal, but that would mean Puig would be ineligible to be traded for the rest of the season.
August 31 is the deadline for teams to acquire players on waivers and still have them become eligible for the postseason roster.
Puig’s relationship with the Dodgers has hit the skids as of late. He’s had a letdown of a season both in terms of injuries and production. In 303 plate appearances, he has a .260/.320/.386 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
The Dodgers demoted him to Triple-A Oklahoma City in early August. Shortly after arriving, Puig celebrated a win with his teammates that included some profane language and was broadcast on Snapchat. The Dodgers were not very happy about that. Since then, the Dodgers were reportedly “trying to give away Puig” but didn’t find a taker.