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.
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.