Lots of Biogenesis news has come out in the past few minutes. We have news of three new names in the Biogenesis scandal, a couple being cleared as well as more news of players agreeing not to appeal and to serve their suspensions.
The new names: The Mets’ Jordany Valdespin, the Phillies’ Antonio Bastardo and the Astros’ Sergio Escalona are all going to receive 50-game suspensions.
According to multiple reports, in addition to Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Fautino De Los Santos, Fernando Martinez and Jordan Norberto have all accepted 50-game suspensions. That’s 12 players plus Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez.
Cleared, either completely or in terms of new discipline: Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, and Melky Cabrera, all who will get no additional discipline over what they have already served (each received 50-game suspensions last season). Finally, there have been no violations found for Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals or Danny Valencia of the Orioles. Each were named in the original Miami New Times report about Biogenesis, but there was not much in the way of evidence against them in the actual Biogenesis documents.
Barring any new surprises, this should be the extent of the suspended players. And barring any last minute settlement between A-Rod and Major League Baseball, Rodriguez now stands alone as the sole player mounting an appeal.
The Cleveland Indians and outfielder Brandon Guyer avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $5 million contract with a club option for 2019.
The Indians acquired Guyer from the Rays at last year’s trade deadline. After coming to Cleveland he posted a line of .333/.438/.469 in 38 games. He’s a .262/.349/.402 hitter over 344 games in five seasons in the bigs. He has led the league in being hit by pitches for the past two seasons, getting plunked 24 times in 2015 and 31 times in 2016. He went 6-for-18 with four walks and two HBPs in the playoffs for Cleveland. The man will work to get on base, my friends. And he can play all three outfield positions.
The Braves have trained at Walt Disney World for several years. The lease is up, however, and they’ve been on the hunt for a new facility for some time. Disney is just too geographically remote from most of the Grapefruit League facilities so they’ve looked on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts for some time.
Their search appears to be over, however, as they have reached an agreement to move to Sarasota:
The Atlanta Braves formally plan to move the team’s spring training home to North Port in 2019, the team and Sarasota County announced Tuesday afternoon.
The announcement set the stage for final negotiations this spring on a contract to bring the Major League Baseball team to a new complex in the West Villages district just south of West Villages Parkway and U.S. 41, near the State College of Florida campus in North Port.
It’ll be a $75-$80 million complex on 70 acres. The story says it’s envisioned to anchor a “town center” commercial and residential district. If anyone has ever been to a spring training facility, however, one knows how ridiculous such an idea is. There is nothing more geographically un-centered and dispersed than a spring training facility. It’s a sea of open fields which private citizens generally cannot access and large parking lots. These facilities typically require major arteries, not quaint town streets, for reasonable access. The best any facilities do to integrate with surrounding communities can be seen in Fort Myers with the Twins and in Surprise, Arizona with the Rangers and Royals, where the facilities are part of larger community parks and recreation centers. That’s OK, and certainly better than nothing, but they’re not the anchors of the vibrant live/work/shop developments like the Braves and Sarasota are describing here.
But of course everyone involved has to say that, because selling such facilities as the engine of pie-in-the-sky development is a key part of making the large expenditure of public funds seem more palatable. And yes, there will be a big expenditure of public funds here: the Braves will be getting $56 million in taxpayer subsidies for the new place, some from the state, some from the county. The amount from the county, by the way, is calculated to fall just below the threshold required for a public vote on the expenditure. The Braves have always been blessed with the ability to avoid public votes for their corporate welfare, of course.
One wonders how many other wealthy private businesses owned by multinational corporations get tens of millions in tax dollars to build employee training centers. Not many, I’m sure. The Braves always seem to luck out in this regard, however.