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MLB On Brink Of Suspending 20 Players In Biogenesis Investigation

Anthony Bosch founder of Biogenesis to cooperate with MLB in Biogenesis investigation.

Anthony Bosch, the founder of Biogenesis drug clinic has agreed to talk to MLB, after having originally balked at cooperating with the MLB investigation. The lawsuit against him by major league baseball has caused Bosch to reconsider his original stance and he also hopes his cooperation will prevent him from appearing in criminal court.

It seems like the primary targets for MLB in this investigation are Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Braun had this to say about this latest news, after the Brewers defeated the Athletics 4-3 in 10 innings last night in Milwaukee:

“I’ve already addressed everything related to the Miami situation. I addressed  it in spring training. I will not make any further statements about it,” he  said.  “The truth has not changed.”

Alex Rodriguez subject of Biogenesis investigation.

Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun will have to talk sooner or later to MLB investigators, who are intent on proving that both players bought drugs from the Biogenesis drug clinic in Florida. Both players have denied buying drugs from Biogenesis, but they will find themselves on the carpet soon before investigators, who won’t take no as easily as the media has, when they asked the tough questions, that they don’t want to answer.

The New York Yankees have proved this season, that they can compete in the AL East, without Rodriguez playing and would probably be overjoyed, if this investigation gives them a way out of the huge contract, that they are paying Rodriguez. He is owed $86 million by the Yankees from 2013-2017, which would end their current contract with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will be 38 in July and if he doesn’t play this season due to a hip injury, then is suspended 100 games to start the 2014 season, that would make him 39 before he steps on the field again. He needs 13 home runs to hit his 660th home run which would enable him to pick up a $30 million bonus. His chances of passing Barry Bonds, who has hit 762 home runs are slim and none at his age. The only way he could have passed Bonds was to have used steroids, but not even sure if they are working, since his home run production is trending downward:

2007 – 54

2008 – 35

2009 – 30

———–

119 HR’s

2010 – 30

2011 – 16

2012 – 18

———–

64 HR’s

The above numbers show that Rodriguez has hit almost half the number of home runs,  in the last three years compared to the 2007-2009 numbers. He will have trouble attracting Hall of Fame votes, especially if he is suspended for another 100 games.

If Braun is suspended the Brewers may try to have Braun’s contract revoked. He is owed $133 million from 2014-2021 and the Brewers front office can’t help but wonder, if Braun can hit the power numbers, without the benefits of steroids.

Melky Cabrera has reaped financial benefit from his steroids-laced seasons. He only hit four home runs and drove in 42 runs in 2011, while playing for the Atlanta Braves. Then in 2012 with the Royals Cabrera found strength from somewhere to hit 18 home runs and drive in 87 runs. Then in the first season of his new $16 million contract for two years for the Blue Jays he has only 2 home runs in his first 58 games.

The Texas Rangers would be particularly hit hard by a suspension for Nelson Cruz, since he leads the team in home runs with 14 and also leads in RBI with 40.

Everth Cabrera of the Padres, one of the players named in the Biogenesis records leads the majors in stolen bases with 24 and has nine more stolen bases, than his nearest NL competitor JuanPierre who has 14. Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers, who is also on the list and is hitting .338, which is third in AL. The loss of Cabrera or Peralta would be a major setback to the Padres and Tigers.

The Yankees could lose their first string catcher Francisco Cervelli, if he is suspended after returning from the disabled list. Bartolo Colon of the Athletics is pitching well this season and his loss would hurt the Athletics, particularly since Colon would be automatically eligible for a 100 game suspension, since he served a 50 game suspension last season.

1998 Home Run Chase With Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa

I have to admit that I got caught up in the steroids-laced home run chase, between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. I thought it was kind of McGwire to talk to the Maris family, after breaking the record, but now I know he knew he was cheating to break the record of  Roger Maris. How could he act like he was their friend, when he was taking away a record Maris had set 37 years ago? If he broken the drug without steroids it would have been different, but he knew he was cheating.  The Maris family has forgiven McGwire, but still say their dad holds the record. I even question if McGwire was using steroids when he hit 49 home runs in his rookie season.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig may never admit it, but I think he looked the other way, as baseball fans watched McGwire – Sosa battle for most home runs in a season. Selig knew his owner cronies were getting rich, so wasn’t about to pull the plug on the steroids.

It was only after Congress became involved that Selig and player’s union boss Don Fehr seriously addressed the steroids problem. Then they came up with the “brilliant” idea of letting players use steroids in 2003 without any punishment, so they would know how many tested positive and then implemented testing with consequences in 2004.

Steroids Banned From Baseball in 1991

Steroids first were banned from major league baseball in 1991, but tests for steroids weren’t installed till 2003. That is 12 years that steroids use was rampant, with several players that cheated wining MVP awards for their league. These are some of the questionable MVP won by steroids users:

American League

1996 – Juan Gonzalez

1998 – Juan Gonzalez

1999 – Ivan Rodriguez

2000 – Jason Giambi

2002 – Miguel Tejada

2003 – Alex Rodriguez

2005 – Alex Rodriguez

National League

1996 – Ken Caminiti

1998 – Sammy Sosa

2001 – Barry Bonds

2002- Barry Bonds

2003 – Barry Bonds

2004 – Barry Bonds

2011 – Ryan Braun

That is a total of 14 Most Valuable Player awards given to players, who more than likely were using steroids that year.

You will notice from the list below that most of the  steroids users had unusually high slugging percentages:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml

It is sad that steroids have been banned from baseball since 1991, yet 20 players could possibly be suspended for using steroids in the next month or two. A policy instituted 22 years ago still isn’t being adhered to by the players. Maybe if all 20 of these players are suspended it will be a wakeup call, for players thinking of using steroids in the future.

It isn’t fair to the other 730 players supposedly playing the game the right way and abiding by the rules of baseball, for cheaters to have an advantage, whenever they walk on the playing field.

This process will take some time, as each player is interviewed by MLB investigators, with the player’s union having a lawyer present during the questioning. This isn’t the ideal situation for MLB to be conducting the investigation, so close to the time of the 2013 All Star Game, but this is too important of a matter to delay any longer. The Biogenesis scandal broke several months ago, so there is no reason to push this issue to the backburner.

Let us hope that Bud Selig and MLB do the right thing this time. We should know in the next couple of months or sooner, if the cheaters will be suspended or if this will go on for months.

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A-Rod Reportedly Using Steroids 2009-2012

 

Alex Rodriguez may never play another game for the New York Yankees, or any other major league team, if this report from ESPN proves to be true. Rodriguez hit two more home runs (18) and drove in 5 fewer runs (57) in 2012, than he totaled in 2011 even with making 101 more plate appearances in 2012.

This report showing records of Biogenesis of America shows that Rodriguez was purchasing steroids from 2009-2012. This revelation could signal the end of the career of Alex Rodriguez. He was thought of at one time to have a chance to pass Barry “Balco” Bonds as the all-time home run leader, but now he may be lucky to even pass Willie Mays at 660 home runs.

Rodriguez had a .222 OPS again in the 2012 postseason, with 3 singles in 27 plate appearances, while striking out 12 times. Rodriguez can expect little support from baseball writers, when he becomes eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Some players listed in the documents have never been suspended, but that could change when the MLB investigates the document. Nelson Cruz and Gio Gonzalez could both be suspended, even though they have never tested positive.

http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8893139/report-alex-rodriguez-others-miami-clinic-ped-lists

 

 

AROUND THE BASES
Baseball lost two Hall of Famers recently with the deaths of Earl Weaver and Stan Musial. If there were ever two opposites, then these two were as opposite as night and day. Weaver didn’t like umpires and was not the kind to hold back his feelings, when questioned by reporters.
Stan Musial, on the other hand in all the time I have followed his career since the middle 50’s till his death has never made a derogatory statement about anyone, or has anyone said anything criticizing Musial.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame the baseball writers muffed their chance to send Craig Biggio to the Hall of Fame in his first attempt. I can’t see how a writer could not list Biggio on their ballot, considering he has over 3,000 and hit more doubles, than any right-handed hitter in the history of baseball. Biggio made his news on the field, unlike a lot of players today.

Five free agent position players have over 300 home runs in their career, yet have not signed with a team for the 2013 season:

JIM THOME – 612

ANDRUW JONES -434 (PLAYING IN JAPAN IN 2013)

JASON GIAMBI – 429

CARLOS LEE – 358

SCOTT ROLEN – 316

Michael Bourn is surprisingly still without a team with spring training starting in about two weeks….Other well-known  position players without a team as of today are Bobby Abreu, Grady Sizemore, Freddy Sanchez and Travis Hafner.

Kyle Lohse was 16-3 last season, yet still hasn’t been signed as a free agent. Livan Hernandez with 178 lifetime wins is still unsigned, along with Derek Lowe with 175 wins, Kevin Millwood 169 wins, Roy Oswalt 163 wins and Carlos Zambrano with 132 wins.

Four closers with over 200 saves remain unsigned including Jason Isringhausen with 300 saves, Francisco Rodriguez 294 saves, Jose Valverde 277 saves and Brian Fuentes with 204 saves.

Ed Bouchee has died at the age of age of 79 in Phoenix Arizona on January 23, 2013. Bouchee played seven years total in stints with the Phillies, Cubs and Mets. Bouchee was one of the original expansion Mets in 1962 and hit .161 that year, which would be his last major league season.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Ed_Bouchee

 

 

MLB Wild Card Races

AL WILD CARD RACE

Only a game-and-a-half separate Oakland, Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Los Angeles in the AL wild card race. Oakland is 14 percentage points ahead of Baltimore, while Tampa Bay is a game back and Los Angeles who are a game-and-a-half back of Oakland.

Los Angeles has won 8 of their last 10 games, making them the hottest team in the AL wild card team.

Baltimore and Tampa Bay would prefer to finish in first place in the AL East, than play one game to determine which wild card team advances to the ALDS. Oakland is in the identical situation in the AL West, but they are only three games behind first place Texas.

NL WILD CARD RACE

Atlanta leads St.Louis by 38 points in the NL wild card race. Los Angeles is next and are one game behind Atlanta and St. Louis. Pittsburgh is only two-and-a-half  games back of the NL wild card leaders.

Pittsburgh was 16 games over .500 earlier this season, but are only four games over .500 after last night’s game. It would be very disappointing for Pittsburgh to finish over .500 after being in contention for the NL Central title most of season. They haven’t finished over .500 since Barry Bonds left the team for San Francisco after the 1992 season.

Milwaukee and Philadelphia are both five games behind the leader, but are both one win shy, of playing .500 baseball. Neither team can be taken seriously, until they reach the .500 mark.

 

 

Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon Apologies Ring Hollow

Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon have issued apologies, after being suspended for using synthetic testosterone steroids.

These hollow apologies to me are more about them being caught, than they are about being sorry. They knew what they were getting into, when they started taking the illegal substances.

Cabrera is currently No.2 in NL batting average with a .346 mark and only three points behind first place Andrew McCutchen at .349. Cabrera finished the season with 501 plate appearances, which is one short of the needed 502 appearances to qualify for the batting title.

2010 was the worst season of Cabrera’s career when he hit 4 home runs and drove in 42 runs for the Atlanta Braves. He did bat exactly 200 more times in 2011, for the Kansas City Royals and hit 18 home runs and drove in 87 runs. His batting average in 2010 was .255 for the Braves, then jumped to .305 in 2011 for the Royals. He had a personal high of 201 hits in 2010 and was on his way to another 200 hit season this year, at the time of his suspension.

Cabrera batted 114 times in 2010 to hit a home run, while in 2011 it took only 36 at bats per home run. He has 69 home runs in his eight year major league career, but 29 of those home runs were hit in the last two seasons.

I remember reading that Cabrera had lost weight, which made him a better hitter, but now I am wondering if weight had anything to do with it.

His San Francisco Giants may currently be in first place in the NL West, but they have to miss not having the No.2 hitter in the NL for the rest of the season. That is where the selfishness comes in. Cabrera had to know he was at risk of being suspended, yet was willing to jeopardize the season of the San Francisco Giants. It would be interesting to know the timeline, of when he started taking the synthetic testosterone. Was it before the 2011 season or before the 2012 season?

With Cabrera being a free agent after the 2012 season, it is almost a certainty that the Giants will not re-sign him under any conditions, after he put his personal interests ahead of the team.

Will any team even risk signing Cabrera, not knowing how much of his performance over the last two seasons was enhanced by steroids?

Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics was already being watched due to his stem cell surgery, which generated attention from MLB, especially since it reportedly increased his velocity from 87 MPH to 93 MPH. He had a 10-9 record this season which ties him with Tommy Milone for most wins on the team.

Colon had five no-decisions during the season, with the Athletics winning four of those games. He had won four of his last five starts and was 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA for the month of August. He had lost only two starts since June 17.

The steroids and/or the stem cell surgery may have added velocity, but his strikeouts per 9 innings fell from 7.39 in 2011 to 5.38 this season. His 10 wins in 2012 are the most wins since his 21-8 season for the California Angels in 2005. His 3.43 ERA this season is his lowest since 2002, when he posted a combined 2.93 ERA for the Cleveland Indians and Montreal Expos.

This is probably the end of the road for Colon at the age of 39. I can’t see a team taking the risk on him, since he will be 40 next May.

Summation: As long as players like Cabrera and Colon put themselves before their teams, we will see players cheating.

Victor Conte of Balco Laboratories fame said synthetic testosterone can’t be detected eight hours after being ingested. Cabrera and Colon got caught anyway, so they apparently weren’t too worried about being caught.

Their suspensions once again make us question their records and those of other players who may or may not be using steroids, who have had sudden spikes in their numbers.

Derek Jeter’s name came up on ESPN’s First Take program yesterday, when Skip Bayless questioned why Jeter is having one of his best seasons at the age of 38. I can’t see Jeter jeopardizing his career and Hall of Fame chances and most of all jeopardize the 2012 season for the New York Yankees by using steroids, since after all the team should come before individual accomplishments.

But then in this steroids era, who can we trust and have the record books been rendered meaningless by players looking to enhance their records and thus their salaries by trying for better living through chemistry?

 

 

Dontrelle Willis Retires At 30: Where Did It Go Wrong?

Dontrelle Willis is retiring from baseball at the age of 30.

The Baltimore Orioles have announced that Dontrelle Willis has already or will be retiring from baseball at the age of 30.

Willis had not pitched in the majors this season and had posted a record of 0-3, 8.53 ERA this season for Norfolk, the Orioles AAA team in only 6 innings this season.

He first burst on the scene in 2003, when he won the NL Rookie of the Year Award for his 14-6 rookie season for the Miami Marlins.

Then in 2004 he posted a 10-11 record, followed by his career season of 2005 when he won a league high 22 games in his 22-10 season.

After three seasons, Willis had a 46-27 record and seemed on his way to an outstanding career.

Instead his career started a downward spiral, that would see him post a 22-27 record in the next two seasons. He would never have another winning season during his career after his 22 win season in 2005.

The December 4, 2007 trade after a 10-15 season which sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to the Detroit Tigers for Dallas Trahern, Burke Badenhop, Eulugio De La Cruz, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Mike Rabelo, looked like a great trade for the Tigers, but the failure of Willis turned it into more of a trade for Cabrera, who has performed well for the Tigers.

The trade was bad then and is still bad today for the Marlins, since none of the six players they received are still with the Marlins. Miguel Cabrera made the trade a good one, since he has hit .322 as a Detroit Tiger and hit 155 home runs, but Willis on started 22 games for the Tigers in three seasons.

Willis earned $29 million while with the Tigers, but only posted a 2-8 record and an ERA of 6.86 with Detroit. After leaving the Tigers, Willis had a 4-15 record in the majors before retiring. He never won more than two games in a season after leaving the Marlins.

Walks literally ended his career. He walked batters at rate of 3 per 9 innings in five seasons with the Marlins. That number ballooned to 8.2 walks per 9 innings in three seasons with the Tigers. That pretty well explains what went wrong with Willis. No major league pitcher can pitch with success, while walking 8.2 batters per 9 innings.

One thing Willis can say is that he was one of the best hitting major league pitchers, since not many pitchers hit safely 24 times in a season. He accomplished that feat in 2005 with the Marlins. Compare that to Bob Buhl who went 0-70 for the Milwaukee Braves in 1962 and was 4-60 in 1961 for a 4-130 streak over the two years. Anyway back to Willis….He finished his career with 9 home runs and 39 RBI, with six triples.

Willis joins a long list of players who had overwhelming promise, but couldn’t sustain the success over the long haul. He earned $40 million in his career, so he should be set financially, unless he didn’t handle his money wisely.

He is still young enough to mount a comeback, but he has shown no signs of being the same Dontrelle Willis, that won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2003 and winning 22 games in 2005. Since then it has all been downhill. Personally, I hope he doesn’t try to make another comeback at a later time. It is not like he needs the money and he will always have the memory of the 22 wins season.

Sometimes it is better to walk away from the game, rather than taking the mound, knowing he is not the pitcher, that he was in his heyday with the Marlins.

Gossage Says Clemens Lied About Steroids Use

Goose Gossage said today that he doesn’t think Roger Clemens should be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

I am glad that Goose Gossage said that Roger Clemens should not be admitted into the Hall of Fame today. It is time more former ballplayers speak up against Clemens and the other cheaters who are already on the Hall of Fame ballot, or will soon be on the list of Hall of Fame eligible players.

Most of the pitchers who have been linked to steroids have been second rung pitchers. Clemens is the only potential Hall of Fame pitcher, that I know of, that has been linked to steroids. There was a reason his name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

I agree with Gossage that the players who used steroids, without penalty in 2003 should be identified and not be protected by MLB and the Player’s Union. MLB has made some incredibly bad decisions, but to tell the players to take all steroids you want in 2003 and hit all the steroids-laced home runs you can, tells me that the record books meant nothing to MLB.

http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/8081415/goose-gossage-says-roger-clemens-lied-steroid-use-belong-hall-fame

Jeff Bagwell garnered 56 percent of the vote. There are some writers that say Bagwell used steroids, while others defend him. What would happen if Bagwell is voted into the Hall of Fame and then later found out, to have used steroids?

He has Hall of Fame worthy stats, but how did he get those stats. These two writers differ on whether he used steroids.

Asher B. Chancey of BaseballEvolution.com thinks Bagwell did use steroids and not only used them, but was a conduit to provide other players with them.

http://baseballevolution.com/asher/bagwellconspiracy.html

This Atlantic Wire article defends Bagwell, which quotes several writers defending Bagwell:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2011/01/steroid-speculation-keeps-jeff-bagwell-from-hall-of-fame/18070/

Mark McGwire polled his lowest percentage of votes in the 2012 voting with 19.5 percent, among players linked to steroids, His statement admitting using steroids, but saying they made no difference, shows that he is not the least bit remorseful, for cheating the Maris family out their dad’s single season home run record, then another even bigger cheater Barry “Balco” Bonds proceeded to hit 73 home runs to break McGwire’s ill-gotten record.

Rafael Palmeiro who actually tested positive for steroids only polled 12.5 percent in his second year and he could disappear from the ballot altogether after 2013, with the influx of stars on the ballot for the first time. Juan Gonzalez received 4 percent which means he is not eligible to be on the 2013 ballot.

Other steroids-linked players on the 2013 ballot for the first time include Barry “Balco” Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza, who has been rumored to have used steroids.

We need more players like Goose Gossage, who don’t want the Hall of Fame cheated, by admitting players who almost certainly used steroids, whether they failed a drug test or not.

Nobody ever looked more like they were on steroids more than Bonds. He almost looked grotesque, with him becoming a behemoth of a man, who had to be using something, to change his head size and shoe size.

It will be interesting to see how the voting goes, when they announce the Hall of Fame voting next January.

Matt Cain Pitches Perfect Game, Missed By One Hit Of Having Perfect Game in April

Matt Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in MLB history in a 10-0 win by the San Francisco Giants over the Houston Astros in San Francisco in which Cain struck out 14 batters.

Matt Cain became only the 22nd pitcher in major league history to pitch a perfect game, with his 10-0 win over the Houston Astros. He struck out 14 batters and ESPN.com, which rates the starts of starting pitchers gave him a 101 score for his perfect game.

Lee Richmond and John Ward pitched perfect games in the NL in 1880. It would be 84 years before Jim Bunning would hurl the next perfect game in 1964.  Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game in 1965, then Tom Browning threw the next perfect game 23 years later in 1988. Dennis Martinez (1991), Randy Johnson (2004),  Roy Halladay (2010) and then Cain’s masterpiece last night, made him the ninth pitcher in NL history to toss a perfect game.

Barely Missed Perfect Game in April

Cain threw a one-hitter on April 13 of this season, which he lost on a hit by James McDonald in the sixth inning. So he came within one hit of having two perfect games the same season. ESPN.com rated his performance in that game, as the second best pitched game, only behind the perfect game of last night.

The perfect game was only the third in the NL in the last 21 years and Cain has never allowed more hits, than innings pitched in his eight year MLB career and has allowed only 65 hits in 95 innings pitched in 2012.

Cain has not allowed a run to score in 21 innings of postseason pitching. In addition Cain has hit five major league home runs, while driving in 20 runs as a hitter in eight seasons.

Cain in First Year of $136 Million Contract

2012 is the first season, of a seven-year contract for Cain totaling $136 million.

He has already earned $16 million, so by the time his current contract expires in 2018, he would have earned $152 million. He would only be 33 when that contract expires, so might receive another large contract, if he continues to pitch well through the 2018 season.

Leading or Almost Leading in Many Stats

Matt Cain is leading in WHIP numbers at 0.85 and is second in strikeouts among all major league pitchers with 96, which is only four strikeouts behind major league leading Stephen Strasberg with 100 strikeouts.

Cain is third in majors in ERA with a 2.18 mark. Only Brandon Beachy at 1.98 and Chris Sale at 2.05 have lower ERA’s.

His pitching stats at the age of 26 compare to those of Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton at the same age.

2012 Splits For Cain

His home ERA is 1.45, while his road ERA is 3.23. Right-handed hitters have a .163 average against Cain, while left-handed hitters have a .225 mark.

Cain has a 0.38 ERA in June, allowing one earned run in 24 innings during the month. Opposing batters are hitting only 7-71 with a .099 average after an 0-2 count.

Batters hit .139 against Cain when runners are in scoring position and hit only .150 against Cain at AT&T Park.