Tony Bosch: Alex Rodriguez wanted to start an 800-homer club

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Interviewed by 60 Minutes for Sunday’s show, former drug dealer Tony Bosch says he first met with Alex Rodriguez in 2010 and subsequently gave him numerous performance enhancers and supplements over the following two years, including the banned substances testosterone, hGH and insulin growth factor.

Bosch said upon meeting Rodriguez the former MVP asked him immediately what he gave Manny Ramirez that led to Ramirez’s resurgence in 2008 after joining the Dodgers. Bosch, who allegedly injected Rodriguez himself on occasion, added that A-Rod was driven to become the first player ever to hit 800 homers.

Bosch stated that he loves baseball, but that he had no qualms about supplying players with PEDs, something he did for as long as 10 years. He commented on how he might have been merely leveling the playing field for Rodriguez, since the pitcher, “the guy catching the baseball” and “the guy Alex tags out at third base” were also likely cheating.

Of course, those comments couldn’t have gone over particularly well with the league, which paid Bosch for his cooperation, as well as protected him. The closest thing to a bombshell provided during the interview was that a known associate of Rodriguez was one of several who alledgedly threatened Bosch’s life. Bosch also said A-Rod’s team offered to send him to Colombia and pay him $150,000 to lay low until everything blew over.

Bosch added that beating MLB’s drug testing wasn’t any problem at all. The testosterone troches he gave Rodriguez could be taken in the first inning of a contest and still leave no evidence behind for a postgame urine testing. Nothing, though, was said about Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Yasmani Grandal. Those three were Bosch clients who all failed drug tests and received 50-game suspensions in 2012. Other clients, such as Ryan Braun and Jhonny Peralta, never failed drug tests but were suspended last season anyway.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig and COO Rob Manfred both did interviews for CBS. Neither was asked why exactly Rodriguez deserved the original 211-game suspension, now reduced to 162 games, when others received 50-game bans. Manfred said Rodriguez attempted to bribe Bosch, which was obviously in poor taste given that MLB was also in the process of bribing him by paying him and dropping a lawsuit against him. Selig said Rodriguez did things that were unprecedented during his 50 years in baseball, but never truly elaborated.

The enhanced suspension is still at the heart of the matter here, and tonight’s interview did nothing to answer the questions about why A-Rod was punished so more severely than everyone else. While no one is shedding tears for the disgraced 14-time All-Star, there’s still no clear reason why he was treated so harshly, other than the idea that it was simply Selig’s whim.

The other thing of interest here is the timeline. A-Rod started seeing Bosch in Aug. 2010, according to the interview, and continued receiving supplies into the 2012 season. It certainly doesn’t seem as though Rodriguez’s performance was enhanced by the partnership, though. His OPS has declined every year since 2007.

2007: 1.067
2008: .965
2009: .933
2010: .847
2011: .823
2012: .783
2013: .771

For what it’s worth, Rodriguez may have gotten a boost immediately after meeting Bosch. He had his best month of the season that September, hitting .295/.375/.600 with nine of his 30 homers.

Also of note: besides Ramirez coming up in passing, no player other than Rodriguez was brought up by Bosch or anyone else during the interview. That even though he said he had been working with players for 10 years.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.