<span class="vcard">Craig Calcaterra</span>

Yankees' Rodriguez stands at third base in the eighth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Red Sox in Boston

The idea of popping A-Rod for “distribution” requires an awful lot of magical thinking

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Ken Rosenthal’s report over the weekend that some in Major League Baseball are considering whether Alex Rodriguez could be subject to greater discipline in the Biogenesis matter by virtue of steering players to Anthony Bosch or “distributing” PEDs is interesting. But buying any theory along these lines requires a hell of a lot of magical thinking.

I take no issue with Rosenthal’s analysis of the matter. His sources are telling him what they’re telling him and, given how Rob Manfred has been shown to be nothing if not creative and opportunistic in devising new and exciting ways for MLB to gain power over the players in imposing drug punishments over the years, no theory MLB could devise to hammer A-Rod more than they have already would truly surprise me. It’s possible, if MLB has the will, that it would go down in exactly that manner.

But for it to go down in exactly that manner — and for MLB to find the will to do it — would also require a tremendous, tremendous amount of amnesia, disingenuousness and chutzpah on the part of the league. I say this because the notion that Alex Rodriguez steered players to Anthony Bosch and/or distributed PEDs ignores the fact that Bosch was a well-known source of PEDs for as long as a decade before the Biogenesis case broke in January 2013. Maybe even longer.

Let’s go back to June 2009, when Manny Ramirez was, for a time, the poster boy of PEDs. Then it was widely reported that the source of his drugs was one Pedro Publio Bosch, the father of Anthony Bosch, and that Anthony Bosch was allegedly the go-between for his dad and Manny. And both the DEA and Major Leaguer Baseball were well aware of it:

Investigators believe the prescription for human chorionic gonadotropin, known as hCG, was written by Pedro Publio Bosch, 71, a physician who has practiced family medicine in Florida since 1976. His son, Anthony Bosch, 45, is believed to have worked as a contact between his father and Ramirez. It’s unclear how far along the DEA is in its inquiry but sources indicated that investigators want to know whether either man ever procured improper or illegal prescriptions for other people. DEA officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The report went on:

Anthony Bosch is well known in Latin American baseball circles, sources say. His relationships with players date at least from the earlier part of the decade, when he was seen attending parties with players and known to procure tickets to big league ballparks, especially in Boston and New York.

Then-MLB president Bob DuPuy — who was Rob Manfred’s boss — said “We’re aware of the investigation and our department of investigations is cooperating with the DEA.” So this is no mystery to the league either.

I suppose it’s possible for someone to keep a straight face and say that the reason Anthony Bosch and his 70-something-year-old father were “well known” among Latin American baseball circles for far more than a decade by the time the Biogenesis story broke was because of A-Rod. But it certainly strains credulity to say such a thing. Given how disliked A-Rod is around the game and how competitive he is, one would think he’d not be introducing a good chunk of the league to his source. More to the point, given how much incentive anyone popped for PEDs in Biogenesis or, for that matter, any of the many people criminally-charged in the matter have to implicate A-Rod as a kingpin instead of a user, one would think we would’ve heard about it before now. Indeed, rather than a potential federal witness, A-Rod would be the target of some very serious federal charges courtesy of the DEA.

But he’s not. What he is is the subject of a lot of new tongue-wagging because someone revealed (perhaps illegally) his statements to the DEA and because of some tabloid nonsense. That’s all quite interesting, but none of that explains why now, after more than a decade of Bosch being well known by baseball as a go-to source for drugs in Florida, Major League Baseball suddenly has decided that A-Rod is the Pied Piper of Biogenesis. As such, if they do decide to do more to Rodriguez, they had better have a good story.  A damn good story.

General Manager Meetings begin today in Phoenix

Biltmore Phoenix
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The first official hot stove season event gets underway today. It’s the General Manager Meetings. Which are basically the less-noticed but possibly more interesting younger brother to the Winter Meetings. They get underway today at the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix and go through Thursday.

Officially there is Major League Baseball business on the agenda — nothing massive like big rules changes or anything — but the real value of the GM meetings is for execs to being laying the groundwork for trades and free agent signings this offseason. To have preliminary conversations with other GMs and with agents. In the past this meant laying the groundwork for deals in December at the Winter Meetings and later. However, last year there was a lot of action in later November soon after the GM meetings concluded. Which means that the rumors you hear this week, as opposed to last week, may have more heft to them and may be a lot closer to actual deals.

We’ve talked a lot about possible destinations for free agents, but maybe the more interesting teams to watch this week are the ones which have trade decisions to make. The Reds, who have several players, such as Johnny Cueto and Jay Bruce, entering their final year before free agency. The A’s, who could be in the market to trade a pitcher. The Phillies, who may be in the market to trade everything that isn’t nailed down. It may be easy for a GM to text an agent about, say, Pablo Sandoval last week or next week, but it’s pretty common for us to hear, right after a big trade happens in the offseason, things like “well, this all started when [other GM] and I had a conversation at the GM meetings  . . .”

So that’s what’s going down this week. Those preliminary conversations and, possibly, an actual deal. Keep it on HBT as, as is our custom, we will pass along all of the rumors and news as we hear it.

No, the playoffs don’t make it more “challenging” for voters to pick the MVP

Mike Trout
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Tracy Ringolsby is having trouble squaring the expanded playoffs with the fact that the MVP and Cy Young Awards are based solely on the regular season:

The BBWAA presents the Most Valuable Player.

The ultimate value in baseball is winning, and if the award is based on a player’s value the decision should rest on how valuable he was to his team’s success. Winning the World Series is the ultimate sign of a team’s success.

That aspect, however, has been diminished in terms of the annual presentation of the Most Valuable Player awards in the NL and AL each time the post-season has expanded.

This year, for example, the BBWAA announced the three finalists for the AL and NL MVPs, and none of the six players participated in the World Series.

Or, one could argue that the regular season has been diminished by a tournament-style postseason in which success is determined under fairly radically different circumstances than those which prevail from March through September.

The regular season is the regular season. The playoffs are the playoffs. If you have a problem with a non-World Series player winning the MVP, God help you coming to grips with the fact that 20 teams play games all year and never make the playoffs. Maybe we should just eliminate the regular season altogether, turn baseball into nothing but a 30-team tournament with five and seven game series. We could probably wrap the whole thing up between May and July, leaving us more time to think about football training camps and stuff.

Wanna buy Andrew Friedman’s house?

Andrew Friedman AP
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It’s the one he’s leaving in St. Pete. It’s nice. Given the size of his contract with the Dodgers, I assume his place in Los Angeles is going to be even nicer:

source:

It’s a cool $2.35 million and is 4,265-square-feet. The whole listing can be seen here.

Jim Leyland sings Toby Keith’s “Who’s Your Daddy” in a bar

ALDS Tigers Athletics Baseball
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Jim Leyland: continuing to enjoy retirement.

Not in the video: Brad Ausmus pulling him after one verse and making Joba Chamberlin finish it because Chamberlain is his “second verse guy”

 

(h/t Detroit Sports 105.1)