The Biogenesis scandal wasn’t just going to go away. The anonymous reports identified too many high-profile players and Major League Baseball invested too much time and energy in their investigation to simply have this storyline slink permanently into the darkness.
ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish dropped a bombshell on the collective baseball community on Tuesday evening. Their report states that Major League Baseball is close to seeking 100-game suspensions for Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and other players potentially indicted by the Biogenesis documents. That’s 50 games for PED usage and another 50 games for directly lying about the suspected usage.
Major League Baseball finally got what they desperately wanted. Anthony Bosch, owner of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic, has reportedly agreed to cooperate with investigators and will provide names to the league in the coming days. After months of full-throated denials, Bosch has apparently decided to flip and talk.
But something about this reeks, doesn’t it?
Reports indicate Anthony Bosch is flat-out broke. He’s currently living with friends and family, unable to restart his business and absolutely terrified of potential litigation. The latter part is completely understandable. After all, how can a person without any money pay for an expensive legal battle? And according to the ESPN report, Major League Baseball offered to solve all his problems — provided he give up his clients.
From the report by Quinn, Gomez and Fish:
“In exchange for Bosch’s full cooperation, sources said, Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him. Sources said negotiations over the agreement, which lasted several weeks, stalled over the last point, as Bosch wanted the strongest assurances he could get that MLB would help mitigate any prosecution.”
That’s as close to a “Get Out of Jail Free” card as one can receive from a non-governmental agency. Lawyers have regularly utilized this tactic to get individuals to flip on clients/associates and become a key informant — so it’s not unprecedented — but it’s certainly not without flaw or cause for concern.
Here’s the problem. At what point do we feel confident Bosch is telling the truth and not just what Major League Baseball wants to hear? At what point does the previously untrustable become trustable? He obviously has quite the incentive to cooperate and please the league, as saying the right things could help him rehabilitate his life and career.
As I’ve mentioned innumerable times over the past couple years, I have no idea if Ryan Braun used performance-enhancing drugs or not. I have no possible way of knowing. I’m open to the possibility that he used. If Anthony Bosch provides legitimate documentation that he sold illegal substances to Braun, the Brewers’ superstar would deserve to be suspended. I’m not sure he would deserve the 100 games, but he certainly would deserve the requisite 50 games.
However, if the entire investigation hinges on the words — words, not documentation — of Bosch, that feels (at best) inadequate for the necessary irrefutable truth that would be necessary to suspend a player for a non-analytic positive. Especially when Bosch told ESPN approximately one month ago that his only relationship with Ryan Braun was to help his legal team in his successful appeal.
What changed to get Bosch to potentially flip his story? Well, we know his incentive to tell a different story has certainly increased. Significantly.
His new story that will reportedly condemn Braun and other players could be the one-hundred-percent truth, too. But unless his new stance of cooperation comes with some documentation — phone records, receipts, etc. — I don’t feel confident saying this is anything other than a scam artist looking for the best way out of a bad situation.
And I’m not sure potentially suspending 20+ players for 100 games based on that sort of testimony is Major League Baseball’s best move.