Union head Michael Weiner condemns the Biogenesis leaks

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There have been multiple leaks about the Biogenesis investigation in the past couple of months. The union’s head — Michael Weiner — is sick of it. He just released this statement:

“The leaking of confidential information to members of the media interferes with the thoroughness and credibility of the Biogenesis investigation.  These repeated leaks threaten to harm the integrity of the Joint Drug Agreement and call into question the required level of confidentiality needed to operate a successful prevention program. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged the results of the investigation based on unsubstantiated leaks that are a clear violation of the Joint Drug Agreement.”

The source of the leaks is an interesting topic. I know many have assumed they’ve come from Major League Baseball — and I initially suspected this myself — but I don’t think that’s a fair assumption. Yes, it’s possible that MLB has something to gain by looking tough and talking about impending discipline, but they seem to have much more to lose if (a) they ultimately decide not to go with 100 game suspensions or if their investigation takes longer than the leaks suggest it will; or (b) if they are ultimately unsuccessful in sticking it to Ryan Braun and the gang of 20. There would be a lot of “oh, the league talked big, but …” and that just doesn’t reflect well on them.

At the same time, last year, when Ryan Braun’s appeal was leaked, many suspected Major League Baseball too. Then, however, Weiner actually gave a statement to head off that speculation, saying that the leak did not come from the league or the union. He also stopped short of pointing at the league here, when in similar instances, way back in the day, Don Fehr or someone wouldn’t have shown such restraint.

My guess: the leaks are coming from a player’s legal team or agent or something. We can’t know for sure, but that’s where I’d put my money if people took bets on such things.

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.