MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York

Police report: Major League Baseball knowingly bought stolen documents

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The Boca Raton police say that Major League Baseball ignored repeated warnings that the records they sought in the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis investigation had been stolen and that they were not to purchase them. They did it anyway. And that even though no MLB investigators were ultimately charged in the theft, there is “evidence of involvement” by MLB investigators in the theft of the documents. All of this is detailed in the police report obtained by Newsday and published last night.

We’ve known the broad strokes of all of this for some time: Former Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer had a fallout with Anthony Bosch. Fischer then obtained the documents which fueled the original Biogenesis news in the Miami New Times and upon which Major League Baseball relied to get evidence against Alex Rodriguez. However, Fischer stopped cooperating with MLB before they could get the documents from him. Then the documents were stolen from Fischer. Then Major League Baseball got the documents from someone else.

That someone else is a man named Gary Jones, who sold MLB the documents. Jones’ good friend is a man named Reginald St. Fleur, who was ultimately arrested for the break-in of Fischer’s car. You don’t have to be a genius to see what happened here: MLB knew the documents it was buying from Jones were the same ones stolen from Fischer. Sure, Major League Baseball has repeatedly denied that, but the Boca Raton police don’t buy that at all:

Major League Baseball ignored repeated warnings that records they sought in the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis scandal had been stolen and that they were not to purchase them, according to Florida investigators and an April police report obtained by Newsday . . . Det. Terrence Payne wrote in his report that there was also “evidence of involvement” by “several MLB investigators” and three other men — two brothers from Long Island and a felon whom MLB paid $125,000 in exchange for the stolen records.

MLB continues as of Friday to deny any knowledge that the documents they purchased were stolen. This despite the fact that (a) they recently fired the investigators involved in all of this; and (b) despite being warned by police beforehand that the documents were stolen:

Sandra Boonenberg, a spokeswoman for the Boca Raton Police Department, stated unequivocally that a Florida investigator “warned MLB not to purchase the documents” and that the investigator told their detective about that conversation “before the documents were purchased” by MLB.

I have no doubt that sportswriters, fans and various major league players will come forward and claim that they don’t care about any of this and that it was worth getting Alex Rodriguez at any cost. The irony of this, of course, is that in doing so they are essentially endorsing criminal conduct by Major League Baseball employees as a means punishing A-Rod for crossing an ethical line.

Personally: I find a guy possibly getting away with taking some testosterone and HGH against company rules to be less of a problem than a felony. Maybe that’s just me being a crazy, cheater-loving apologist again. Maybe that’s just me being a contrarian and looking for any excuse to lay into sportswriters and other people who disagree with me on this stuff.

But maybe it’s also possible that MLB was the worse actor than A-Rod here and their pursuit of him was literally criminally overzealous. Maybe, rather than arguing, as so many have, that Bud Selig’s suspension of Alex Rodriguez was a vindication of MLB’s anti-drug policies, it should be acknowledged that it was pretty disgraceful.

Joe Panik says he’s “100 percent” recovered from back injury

San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik follows through on a single off Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Denver. The Giants won 10-8. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”

Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”

“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”

Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.

After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.

Baseball America names Corey Seager as baseball’s top prospect

Los Angeles Dodgers' Corey Seager follows through a single that scored Austin Barnes, in front of Colorado Rockies' Wilin Rosario during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)
AP Photo/Danny Moloshok
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Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.

This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.

Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.

You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.

Jenrry Mejia: “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

New York Mets' Jenrry Mejia reacts after getting the last out against the Milwaukee Brewers during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in Milwaukee. The Mets won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”

Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.

Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

Bryce Harper on potential $400 million contract: “Don’t sell me short.”

Bryce Harper
AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.

When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.

During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.