Is Manny the tip of the iceberg?

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The doctor who allegedly prescribed Manny his drugs is under the federal microscope:

As Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez nears the end of his
50-game suspension, Drug Enforcement Administration investigators are
looking at a Miami doctor and his son as the source of his banned
performance-enhancing drug, sources familiar with the investigation
told ESPN . . . 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 . . .

. . . 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.

If a doctor is writing improper prescriptions, that’s usually a state
matter (i.e. the medical board). As far as a federal drug crime matter,
the case of Manny Ramirez in and of itself is so small its almost
non-existent. I mean, yes, there’s the suggestion of illegality here,
but there aren’t exactly hordes of marauding female fertility drug
lords shooting up the streets of border towns.

But read that last-quoted bit again — the part about the doctor’s son
knowing lots of ballplayers — and realize that the feds have generally
had their PED-interest limited to those cases in which there are
multiple athletes involved: BALCO, Radomski, McNamee, etc. Then realize
that, despite the fact that Latin players have constituted a
disproportionate number of positive drug tests since the beginning of
the testing program, very few of them were named in the Mitchell Report
or have had their names mentioned in any of the other high-profile
investigations.

Taken together, these facts lead me to wonder whether the Manny
Ramirez affair isn’t the beginning of the next big PED story. The
Latin-BALCO, if you will.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.