Neiman Nix was a draftee of the Cincinnati Reds in 1998 but multiple arm surgeries derailed his career before it began. Then he got into the sports clinic business and ran one in Miami. He’s out of that business now. He says he’s out of it because Major League Baseball investigators forced him out of business during the course of the Biogenesis investigation:
. . . according to Nix, the investigators MLB sent to South Florida to probe Biogenesis and its proprietor, Tony Bosch, became so obsessed with the idea that Nix was engaged in similarly shady behavior that they called all of his clients to warn them off and eventually got him banned from Facebook and PayPal.
But Nix swears he has done nothing wrong and is now suing MLB and three officials, claiming they wrecked his clinic and cost him millions in revenue. “It’s unbelievable what they did to him,” says Sholom Boyer, Nix’s attorney. “It’s the ultimate David versus Goliath.”
Nix is suing Major League Baseball and has named the two investigators who MLB fired a couple of weeks ago just before it was reported that they purchased stolen documents. Nix says he never gave patients/clients any drugs that were either illegal or which required a prescription. His complaint alleges slander, tortious interference, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.
It’s hard to say how much weight to give all of this. On the one hand, the more we learn about that investigation the shadier it seems. On the other hand, while the investigation seemed to be profoundly overzealous, everything we’ve read about it makes it seem as if that overzealousness was aimed at taking down big-name MLB players and there is no apparent connection between Nix and any of them. One wonders, then, why investigators would go out of their way to take this guy out too.
At the moment it’s just a complaint, so it’s early in the process. MLB, for its part, is calling the lawsuit “baseless.” And if anyone knows about baseless lawsuits it’s Major League Baseball. But, Major League Baseball also knows that baseless lawsuits actually get results sometimes too, so they shouldn’t be too dismissive.
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.
Per Eric Stephen of SB Nation’s True Blue LA, the Dodgers announced that pitching prospect Frankie Montas will be out two to four months after undergoing rib resection surgery to remove his right first rib.
The Dodgers acquired Montas from the White Sox in a three-team trade in December 2015 that also involved the Reds. The 22-year-old made his big league debut with the Pale Hose last season, allowing eight runs on 14 hits and nine walks with 20 strikeouts in 15 innings across two starts. Montas had spent the majority of his season at Double-A Birmingham, where he posted a 2.97 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 48 walks in 112 innings.
MLB.com rated Montas as the 95th-best prospect in baseball, slipping a few spots from last year’s pre-season ranking of 91.
The Brewers’ rebuild continues, as the club announced on Twitter the trade of outfielder Khris Davis to the Athletics in exchange for catcher Jacob Nottingham and pitcher Bubba Derby. MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports that the A’s have designated pitcher Sean Nolin for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Davis.
Davis, 28, was the Brewers’ most valuable remaining trade chip. He blasted 27 home runs while hitting .247/.323/.505 in 440 plate appearances this past season in Milwaukee. Adding to his value, Davis won’t become eligible for arbitration until after the 2016 season and can’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season. In Oakland, Davis will give the Athletics more reliability as Coco Crisp was injured for most of last season and is now 36 years old. Though he doesn’t have much of a career platoon split, Davis split time in left field with the left-handed-hitting Gerardo Parra last season. It’s unclear if the A’s will utilize him in a platoon as well.
With Davis out of the picture, Domingo Santana is a leading candidate to start in left field for the Brewers, GM David Stearns said, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Nottingham, 20, started the 2015 season in the Astros’ system but went to the Athletics in the Scott Kazmir deal. He hit an aggregate .316/.372/.505 at Single-A, showing plenty of promise early in his professional career. With catcher Jonathan Lucroy on his way out of Milwaukee, the Brewers are hoping Nottingham can be their next permanent backstop.
Derby, 21, made his professional debut last season after the Athletics drafted him in the sixth round. Across 37 1/3 innings, he yielded seven runs (five earned) on 24 hits and 10 walks with 47 strikeouts. He’s obviously a few years away from the majors, but the Brewers are looking for high upside.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Yankees and closer Aroldis Chapman have avoided arbitration, settling on an $11.325 million salary for the 2016 season. It is the lefty’s third and final year of arbitration eligibility.
Chapman had filed for $13 million while the Yankees countered at $9 million, so he gets slightly more than the midpoint between the two submitted figures.
With the Reds this past season, Chapman posted a 1.63 ERA with 33 saves and a 116/33 K/BB ratio over 66 1/3 innings. The Reds have opted to rebuild, so they traded him to the Yankees this offseason in exchange for four minor leaguers. Chapman, who turns 28 at the end of February, will make for a fearsome 1-2-3 punch in the back of the Yankees’ bullpen along with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances.