Royals infielder Miguel Tejada was handed a 105-game suspension from MLB over the weekend following multiple positive tests for amphetamine use, but Pedro Gomez of ESPN.com reports that the former American League MVP was also implicated in the recent Biogenesis investigation. In fact, it appears MLB leveraged his link to Biogenesis to get him to drop an appeal on his 105-game suspension.
Major League Baseball had the choice of going after the 2002 American League MVP for the Biogenesis case, as the league did 13 other players earlier this month, or for the amphetamine case. MLB chose to suspend Tejada after he tested positive for a third time in his career for amphetamines.
Tejada, according to a source familiar with the case, was given the choice of either accepting the 105-game suspension for amphetamine use or facing additional punishment for his Biogenesis connection. Tejada was allegedly a customer of Tony Bosch’s shuttered clinic, which is at the heart of baseball’s recent rash of suspensions. Bosch supplied evidence that Tejada had been a Biogenesis customer.
Tejada has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs dating back to the Mitchell Report and plead guilty to misleading Congress back in 2009. He admitted to purchasing human growth hormone (HGH) in the past, but claimed that he threw the drugs away before injecting them. It’s not clear what he may have purchased from Biogenesis, but any denials are going to ring pretty hollow at this point.
The Royals recently moved Tejada to the 60-day disabled list following a calf strain, so his season was essentially over anyway, but the suspension will also knock him out of commission for the first 64 games in 2014. The 39-year-old has insisted that he doesn’t plan to retire, but there’s a real chance that we have seen the last of him in the majors.
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.
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.