Team A-Rod is portraying Tony Bosch as a cocaine user

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New York Magazine reports that Team A-Rod has gone after Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch as a habitual cocaine user. And they have a photo that appears to be Bosch with two small bags of cocaine.

The basis for the claim is a friend of Bosch’s — who himself has a spotty past — who says that Bosch used cocaine regularly in Miami. A-Rod’s lawyers cross examined Bosch about his cocaine use in the arbitration. They were met with objections about the line of questioning from Major League Baseball’s attorneys. When Bosch answered he said “I’ll take the Fifth.”

Now, clearly, Tony Bosch’s credibility as a witness is essential here, as the case comes down to his accusations against Alex Rodriguez and his authentication and explanation of Biogenesis documents which purport to show A-Rod’s PED use. At the same time, courts rarely give much weight to — and often don’t allow — evidence relating to the past bad acts or the bad overall character of a witness as a means of challenging his credibility. Rather, you have to establish that the dirt you have on the witness directly speaks to his credibility, not just his character, habits, addictions or what have you.

I would say this is of little overall consequence in the arbitration. If A-Rod’s lawyers could make more of it maybe it would matter. Say, they could establish that Bosch was in trouble with drug lords and needed money and, well, you can tell any number of tales that could get you from drugs to lying to help Major League Baseball.  But if that came out, the same source leaking the testimony to New York Magazine here would have mentioned it right? And either way, it’s pretty far-fetched.

This is all a part of A-Rod’s throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks defense. It may work in the court of public opinion. It may raise secondary or tertiary questions about Anthony Bosch. But without anything more, drug use is not, in and of itself, likely to affect his overall credibility in the mind of the arbitrator.

Magic Johnson says the Dodgers will win the World Series

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Baseball, as we so often note around here, is unpredictable. Especially when it comes to the playoffs. You can be the best team in the land for six months but a few bad days can end your season once October hits.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games in the regular season but lost the ALCS to the Yankees, four games to one. In 1906 the Cubs won 116 games in a 152-game season and lost the World Series. In 1954 the Indians won 111 games in a 154-game season and lost the World Series. In 1931 the Philadelphia A’s won 107 games and lost the World Series.

More recently, with the advent of expanded playoffs, the chances for the team with the best record to win the World Series have been pretty dang terrible. Since the beginning of the wild card era, only five times has the team with the game’s best record gone on to win the World Series: The 1998 and 2009 Yankees, the 2007 and 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Cubs. That’s it.

At the moment, the Los Angeles Dodgers have baseball’s best record. They’re 71-31 and sit 12 games up in their division. Their playoff chances are almost 100%. The above examples notwithstanding, if you had to make a prediction as to who might win the World Series, it would not be unreasonable to pick the Dodgers. Sure, you’d want to make sure they got Clayton Kershaw back by early September or thereabouts to make it a safer prediction, but it’d be a totally defensible pick. Maybe even the one most people make.

But it’d be the utmost in magical thinking to presume that one could make such a prediction with any degree of certainty, right? The Los Angeles Times, however, passes along some Magical thinking:

Magic Johnson called his shot Thursday night, and he wasn’t shy about it. The Dodgers’ co-owner did not hesitate when he predicted how the team would finish this year.

“The Dodgers are going to win the World Series this year,” Johnson said. “This is our year.”

The headline calls it a “guarantee.” I don’t know if I’d call it that — I think it’s more of a confident prediction — but it is a bold statement whatever you call it.

If I had to pick one team at the moment — and we could assume a healthy Clayton Kershaw — I suppose I would make them my World Series favorites too. And, yes, if I had an ownership interest in the Dodgers, I’d probably say what Johnson said.

But given the example of history, I think “field” would be a much safer bet.

Mariners trade Steve Cishek to the Rays for swingman Erasmo Ramirez.

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The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired reliever Steve Cishek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for reliever Erasmo Ramirez.

Cishek had appeared in 23 games this season for Seattle after recovering from major offseason hip surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 3.15 ERA, with a 15/7 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. He’s a setup man right now, but he has experience as a closer, saving 25 games for Seattle last year and as many as 39 back when he pitched for the Marlins in 2014.

Ramirez has appeared in 26 games for the Rays and has started eight games. He’s 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA and a 55/16 K/BB ratio in 69.1 innings. This will be his second stint with the Mariners, having played for them from 2012-14.

Sort of a surprising deal given that both Tampa Bay and Seattle are competing for a wild card spot, but needs are needs.