Tony Bosch, the founder and honcho of Biogenesis and the man who was the star witness in the enforcement action which led to Alex Rodriguez’s year-long suspension, surrendered to the Drug Enforcement Agency this morning. He will eventually plead guilty to a conspiracy to distribute steroids.T.J. Quinn of ESPN was the first to report on the matter.
Eight others, including Yuri Sucart, the cousin of Alex Rodriguez and former supplier of performance enhancing drugs to Rodriguez, were arrested as well. A full report on the arrests can be read here.
Quinn reports that the charges against Bosch and the others will not be limited to their interaction with major league baseball players. Rather, they will include charges that steroids were distributed to minors as well, both in this country and in the Dominican Republic. However, baseball’s involvement will not end here, as it was reported later in the day that at least two and possibly more baseball players have been identified as Biogenesis clients to the DEA and that their names will, eventually, be released. That should lead to more suspensions by Major League Baseball.
As was widely reported last year, Major League Baseball got Bosch to cooperate with its investigation of Rodriguez by striking a deal with him. That deal, detailed in the recently-released book about the Biogenesis case, “Blood Sport,” was reached over drinks at a Miami dive bar. It includes a promise from Major League Baseball that it would vouch for Bosch to any law enforcement agency which might threaten him with arrest. The agreement reads as follows:
“MLB will inform such agencies of the value and importance of Bosch’s cooperation in its efforts to achieve the important public policy goal of eradicating performance enhancing substances from professional baseball, and request that such agencies consider his cooperation with baseball.”
So someone at MLB now gets to send a letter or make a phone call to the DEA, I suppose, explaining that they should go easier on Bosch on charges that he sold drugs to kids because he helped nail Alex Rodriguez.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.