It was announced yesterday that Tigers minor league right-hander Cesar Carrillo was suspended 100 games for violating the minor league drug prevention and treatment program. No specific drug was mentioned in the announcement, but it was later confirmed that the suspension was the result of his connection to the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic. But there’s a whole lot more where that came from.
Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Gio Gonzalez, Jhonny Peralta, Yasmani Grandal, Francisco Cervelli, Bartolo Colon, Jesus Montero and Danny Valencia are among the major leaguers who have been linked to the clinic. MLB will obviously have a tougher time putting the hammer down on that group since they are protected by the union, but it’s clear that this story is far from over. It was reported earlier this week that the Florida Department of Health has opened an investigation into Biogenesis and Dr. Anthony Bosch, a potentially important development, but it remains to be seen whether they have any interest in cooperating with MLB.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.