A plea to stop the speculation from a player who's heard more than his fair share.
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.
Gabe Kaplerspent parts of 12 years in the major leagues from 1998-2010, playing for the Tigers (1998-99), Rangers (2000-02), Rockies (2002-03), Red Sox (2003-06 – with a brief interlude in Japan), Brewers (2008) and Rays (2009-10). He also spent a year managing the Red Sox’ Single-A affiliate in Greenville. Follow him on Twitter @gabekapler. You can read his first article for BP here and listen to his recent discussion of advanced stats on Effectively Wild with Ben Lindbergh and Sam Millerhere.
The real danger Biogenesis revealed and the false threat that we shouldn't make this about.
The announcement was mostly anticlimax. Twelve players accepted 50-game suspensions for their involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, and Alex Rodriguez is looking at a longer suspension pending appeal. Some of the names are a surprise, but not the name that everyone is talking about.
The Biogenesis story has, admittedly at the urging of MLB, become primarily about Alex Rodriguez and his massive contract, and Ryan Braun and his improperly handled sample. It is understandable, in that they’re both big stars and the storylines around them are indeed compelling. But there’s a larger story here that’s mostly being missed.
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Why Ryan Braun's suspension isn't bad news, and other reflections on the latest in the Biogenesis saga.
Baseball Prospectus has no house style on performance-enhancing drugs, the way we do about, say, punctuation (unspaced em-dash only, please). We haven’t taken an internal poll and decided to condone or condemn PEDs, and we don’t issue an official stance on steroids as part of the author orientation process. But a site devoted to the pursuit of objective knowledge about baseball tends to attract a group of authors who’ve independently developed similar feelings about certain subjects—from batting order to the sacrifice bunt—and so much of our coverage of baseball’s PED problem over the years has held true to a few first principles:
Jason, a labor lawyer, trains his eyes on the Biogenesis disputes.
When news broke on June 4th that MLB would be seeking to suspend a slew of players connected to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, I was on an airplane back from Pittsburgh, where I was attending a labor lawyers conference. So, a week later than you might have hoped to have it, what I'd like to do, building on the ESPN report linked above as well as Maury Brown's very good piece discussing some of the financial and personal issues raised by the case, is lay out the key contractual provisions and some of the quasi-legal doctrines surrounding this case to provide some idea of the groundwork that the massive structure of strategy and politics covered by Maury, the ESPN team of T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez, and Mike Fish, and others is built on.
I'm not a reporter. I don't have inside knowledge about the union, individual player, or management strategies and tactics. What I have are the two basic documents, the collective bargaining agreement (technically called the Basic Agreement, but I'll call it the "CBA") and the joint drug agreement ("Major League Baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program"—that's a mouthful, so let's just say "JDA"), read with a labor lawyer's eye. (To inform you of my biases: I am, specifically, a union-side labor lawyer, and not by accident.)
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.
Ben and Sam discuss whether a pitcher's body language can cost him strikes, whether it's worth trading for relievers early in the season, a study about perceptions of steroid use, and whether a low BABIP is always unlucky.