lawsuit gavel

Former Reds draftee and sports clinic owner sues MLB, saying it ruined his business


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.

Braves sign Bud Norris to one-year contract

Bud Norris

Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.

Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.

In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.

The Cubs acquire Rex Brothers from the Rockies

Rex Brothers Rockies

The number of people who, if you held a gun to their head, would say that “Rex Brothers” was a game show host and/or local TV news personality from the late 1970s or early 80s is not insignificant. But if you’re a Rockies fan or if spend all day thinking about baseball you know that he’s a reliever who has played in Colorado for the past five years. Now you know him as a reliever for the Cubs:

Brothers — a former Best Shape of His Life All-Star — was pretty good until he hit a brick wall in 2014 and spent most of 2015 in Triple-A. He had something of a bounceback after being called up when rosters expanded in September, but that’s not the sort of thing to excite anyone. He could be useful for the Cubs or just spring training cannon fodder and organizational depth.

Cabrera just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago and pitched a grand total of 14 games in the Dominican Summer League. He’s young and was a $250,000 signee from the Dominican as a 16-year-old so, by definition, he’s a project. Worth giving up Rex Brothers for him if you’re the Rockies, worth risking for some depth in the pen if you’re the Cubs.

Diamondbacks hire Dave Magadan as hitting coach

Dave Magadan Rangers
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Steve Gilbert of reports that the Diamondbacks’ new hitting coach is Dave Magadan, who “parted ways” with the Rangers last month after three years filling the same role in Texas.

Magadan also previously was the Red Sox’s hitting coach and his teams have generally done pretty well, including the Rangers scoring the third-most runs in the league this year.

He’ll have plenty of talent to work with in Arizona, as the Diamondbacks scored the second-most runs in the league led by Paul Goldschmidt, A.J. Pollock, and David Peralta. Turner Ward, who had been Arizona’s hitting coach, chose to leave the team two weeks ago.

A’s reacquire Jed Lowrie in trade with Astros

Jed Lowrie

Jed Lowrie, who was traded from the Astros to the A’s in 2013 and then re-signed with the Astros as a free agent last offseason, has now been traded back to the A’s.

Lowrie got a three-year, $23 million deal from the Astros with the idea that he’d play shortstop in the first season and then move to another position whenever stud prospect Carlos Correa arrived. Instead he got hurt right away, Correa became an immediate star, and the Astros weren’t so keen on paying him $15 million over the next two seasons.

He could resume playing shortstop for the A’s, who watched rookie Marcus Semien make an absurd number of errors there this year. Lowrie hit .271 with a .738 OPS in two seasons in Oakland, which is similar to his career totals and makes him a solidly above-average offensive shortstop. There’s a decent chance the A’s will have a Lowrie-Lawrie double-play duo in 2016.

In return the Astros get minor leaguer Brendan McCurry, a 24-year-old right-hander who split 2015 between high Single-A and Double-A with a 1.86 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio in 63 relief innings. He was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2014 and doesn’t have exceptional raw stuff, but McCurry’s numbers are incredible so far.