In the wake of Biogenesis, Major League Baseball shakes up its investigative arm

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Throughout the Biogenesis investigation there were reports of MLB investigators skirting and often crossing the lines of propriety as they tried to get the goods on Alex Rodriguez. Paid-off witnesses, stolen documents purchased and, in one case, an investigator entering into a sexual relationship with a witness. It was all a little sketchy, even if MLB defended its conduct and, ultimately, the investigators’ work paid off in the form of a long suspension for A-Rod.

Now that the suspension is in and the dust settled, however, here comes a suggestion that, no, MLB was not happy with the way its investigative team performed. From the New York Times, which reports that the head of MLB’s Investigations unit, his top deputy and a top agent have all been dismissed. Here’s the statement from Rob Manfred:

“After the Biogenesis investigation, we made a decision that certain structural changes were necessary in order to have a more efficient and effective investigative unit,” Robert Manfred, the M.L.B. executive who oversaw the case, said Tuesday. “Once we made structural changes, it resulted in the elimination of some positions.”

As the article notes, MLB had to call in a whole second team of investigators after its own team started messing up and/or not getting the desired results. Ultimately it was a legal strategy — suing Tony Bosch in order to get him to flip on A-Rod — that proved the most effective in their case, not the stuff their boots on the ground in Florida provided.

It’s probably worth reminding ourselves that, but for a court’s decision allowing MLB’s case against Bosch to proceed — a decision that most legal commentators do not think represents what the majority of courts would’ve done in that situation — Major League Baseball wouldn’t have had a heck of a lot of evidence against Alex Rodriguez. There are a lot of potential takeaways of the restructuring of the investigative unit, but one most certainly is that, in the future, Major League Baseball would like to find a way to better obtain evidence itself rather than rely on legal Hail Marys to get it done.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.