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Ben and Sam discuss the latest developments in the Biogenesis saga.

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Some 20 players could be suspended for ties to Biogenesis, as the league seeks testimony from Tony Bosch in a case that could have far-reaching financial implications.

Major League Baseball may seek to suspend as many as 20 players, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, as part of the investigation into the Miami-area Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, according to a report by ESPN. The league has been pursuing legal avenues, including a lawsuit against Biogenesis, Biokem, Tony Bosch of Biogenesis, and others, seeking damages. That and other pressure may have finally taken a toll on Bosch as, according to the ESPN report, he is ready to cooperate with MLB investigators in exchange for their dropping the case. With Bosch testifying against players, the league could begin the suspension process “within the next few weeks.”

Should all the players be suspended, it would mark the largest number of suspensions for performance-enhancing substances in the history of professional sports. In 2005, the first year of mandatory drug testing, MLB suspended 12 players between April and November of the year, the largest amount of suspensions at the major-league level to date. At the time, first-time suspensions against the joint drug agreement between MLB and the players’ union were only for 10 games. Since then, the number of games a player can be suspended for has increased dramatically to 50 for a first violation, 100 for a second, and a potential permanent suspension from both MLB and minor-league baseball for a third.

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Former fringe major leaguer Eric Knott dishes on his difficult decisions about PED use during his time as a professional player.

Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Eric Knott is a former big-league pitcher who threw a combined 24 innings in the majors for the 2001 Diamondbacks and the 2003 Expos. While he was there, he struck out Chipper and Andruw Jones, Luis Gonzalez, Scott Rolen, Jim Thome, Chase Utley, and Miguel Cabrera (twice). He had an 11-year minor-league career from 1997-2007, pitching for four MLB organizations, as well as the Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League. You can follow him on Twitter @eknott11.

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Ben and Sam answer listener emails about how much steroids help, the best farm systems in baseball, and how they'd try to negotiate a hypothetical trade.

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Character assassination, speculation, a commitment to process... ah, it has to be Hall of Fame season.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Before Jeff Bagwell's first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Christina summed up her attitude toward steroids in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Prospectus Perspective" column on December 31st, 2010.

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How much did Melky Cabrera's suspension affect San Francisco's odds of appearing in October?

When news of Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for taking testosterone broke this afternoon, the Giants had 45 games remaining, were tied with the Dodgers atop the NL West, and were half a game worse than the Braves and Pirates, the two teams tentatively holding the two NL Wild Cards. Shortly after that, they lost to the Nationals, 6-4, but let’s pretend that never happened. (Who knows, maybe with Melky they would have won.) This morning, with Melky, the Giants had a 60.5 percent chance of making the playoffs: 53.2 percent from winning the division, and 7.3 percent from winning a Wild Card. How much did losing Melky for the rest of the regular season affect their odds?

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A look at the league's new drug policy.

This is Part Three of a multi-part series on MLB’s latest labor agreement. Part One addressed changes that impact the first-year draft. Part Two focused on the luxury tax and the minimum salary.

In the first installment of this series, I noted how it took 183 days from the time that the MLBPA and MLB reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on a new labor agreement until the document was released to the public. It was a long time, which speaks to the complexities involved in the union/management relationship in sports. And while the CBA was released on May 23rd of this year, the associated drug agreement was not.

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December 28, 2011 3:30 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: The Class of 2012: The First Basemen


Jay Jaffe

The new JAWS runs up against players from the Steroid Era to determine their Hall worthiness.

As with comedy, timing is everything in baseball. "Hitting is timing," Hall of Famer Warren Spahn said famously, finishing the thought with the complementary observation, "Pitching is upsetting timing." A good chunk of both the game's traditional and advanced statistics, the ones that we spurn and those that we celebrate, owe plenty to being the right man in the right place at the right time—wins, saves, and RBI from the former camp, leverage, run expectancy, and win expectancy from the latter. ERA owes everything to the sequence of events. For better or worse, MVP votes are won and lost on the timing of a player's productivity, or at least the perception of it that comes with being labeled "clutch." Timing is a major part of how we measure the game, so it should matter when we look over the course of a player's career in evaluating his fitness for the Hall of Fame.

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As a fan from Milwaukee, the news about Ryan Braun's possible failed drug test is quite hard to take.

It's not a hard thing to admit: I'm sick and tired of talking about steroids (and PEDs) in baseball - and have been for a while. When it was announced in 2009 that Alex Rodriguez's name was on the (completely "anonymous" and presumably destroyed) "list of 104" from the 2003 testing, I couldn't bring myself to parrot the same old arguments every other baseball fan has had over the last ten years. Instead, I looked for a simpler, more joyful take on the sport - and found it in Snoopy's race with Hank Aaron for the home run crown.

A few months later, when it was Manny Ramirez who was in the news - this time for an actual failed test - I went to the same well. In 2011, when Manny decided to retire rather than serve out a 100-game suspension for a similar positive test, I ignored the present and, instead, looked back at his great career. I follow baseball to enjoy it, to revel in the feats of those who play the world's greatest game. I don't follow baseball to drag myself down with hypotheticals and other impossible comparisons to an ideal that never existed (or to dwell in the sanctimony of those who do). I don't care about steroids or PEDs - the union and the owners have decided to handle the issue of PEDs with random drug testing and strong punishments, so why should I care anything beyond that? - but I do care about the exploits of a homering hound. That's just who I am.

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A look at the first basemen on this year's Hall of Fame ballot.

Having kicked off this year's JAWS series with the starting pitchers, today we turn our attention to the first basemen, a slate which includes the ballot's best newcomer as well as its most controversial first-timer, and a few holdovers who aren't going anywhere for entirely different reasons.

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Shrieking over A-Rod revisits not just the question of PED use, it brings us back to the multitude of abuses related to the issue.

And so it continues. Per Selena Roberts and David Epstein of Sports Illustrated, Alex Rodriguez was one of 104 players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. In that year, every player in Major League Baseball was tested, presumably anonymously, in an effort to learn the depth of the PED problem in baseball and weigh the need for a program that would mix random testing with penalties for use.

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February 6, 2009 3:17 pm

Legally Brief


Keith Scherer

With Barry's day in court almost upon, what's the basic background on where things stand in terms of evidence and procedure?

A few years back, Keith Scherer contributed a chapter to Will Carroll's award-winning book, The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problem. Keith has been a legal advisor to Baseball Prospectus on the legal issues surrounding Barry Bonds case, and we asked him to update you and us on what's going on.


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