Burden on MLB to Justify A-Rod Suspension

Posted by

A disgruntled former employee of Biogenesis of America, a Coral Gables, Florida “Anti-Aging Clinic,” angry over unpaid wages, leaked records indicating that as many as 20 Major League Baseball (MLB) players were purchasing banned performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), including Human Growth Hormone (HGH), testosterone, and anabolic steroids. Biogenesis was an “anti-aging” clinic owned by Anthony Bosch, just across U.S. 1 from the University of Miami, housed in what was once a motel.  Biogenesis offered its mostly wealthy clients assistance in weight loss, physical fitness, and in some cases psychological services. Although Bosch is not a physician, he wore a lab coat with “Dr. Tony Bosch” on it, giving the impression that he was a doctor.

Based on the leaked Biogenesis records, MLB sued the owner of the Biogenesis, Bosch, alleging that he tortiously interfered with baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, thereby damaging the game.  In June 2012, Bosch and MLB allegedly came to an agreement to settle the lawsuit against Bosch in exchange for Bosch’s agreement to provide testimony and documents to MLB about MLB players that purchased PEDs from Biogenesis.

Milwaukee Brewers 3rd Baseman/Outfielder, Ryan Braun, was the first casualty of MLB’s investigation into players connected with Biogenesis. On July 22, 2013, MLB suspended Braun for the remaining sixty-five (65) games of the regular season, plus the entire postseason, for his involvement with Biogenesis. A urine sample taken during the 2011 post season, during which the 2011 NL MVP dominated the NLDS, tested positive for testosterone.  MLB announced that it was suspending Braun for 50 games at the start of the 2012 season for this PED test, and Braun denied doing anything improper: “If I had done this intentionally, or unintentionally,” Braun said,

I’d be the first one to stand up and say I did it … I truly believe in my heart, and I would bet my life, that this substance never entered my body at any point.

Braun exercised his right to appeal the 2012 suspension before neutral arbitrator Shyam Das in 2012.

At the hearing, it was revealed that Braun provided the urine sample at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday, and although baseball’s drug agreement, which states “absent unusual circumstances, the specimens should be sent by FedEx to the laboratory on the same day they are collected,” there was no open FedEx office within 50 miles of the stadium, so the collector, Dino Laurenzi Jr., took the sealed package containing the sample home, placed it in a Rubbermaid container in his basement office and took it to a FedEx office on Monday After a two-day hearing, Arbitrator Das found that the failure to follow protocol with Braun’s sample violated baseball’s joint drug-testing policy and he overturned Braun’s suspension in 2012.

Braun was not so defiant in 2013, issuing the following statement: “I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions.” Braun has agreed not to challenge his 2013 suspension.

On Monday, August 5, 2013, MLB issues suspensions to 13 other players, including all stars Alex Rodriguez (Yankees), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Nelson Cruz (Rangers), and Jhonny Peralta.(Tigers).  Five of the suspended players are currently in the minors (Escalona, Martinez, Montero, Puello, and Valdespin), two are free agents (De Los Santos and Norberto) and one is on the Disabled Lists (Cervelli).  MLB suspended Alex Rodriguez through the 2014 season and suspended the other 12 players for 50 games (the remainder of the 2013 season).  Only Alex Rodriguez has elected to exercise his right to challenge his suspension.

Rodriguez’a appeal will be heard by independent arbitrator, Fred Horowitz, most likely in September. MLB Arbitrators have a record of being weak on player discipline, often overturning or reducing suspensions.  While Rodriguez has admitted to using PEDs from 2001 to 2003 in an interview with ESPN, he has avoided answering current inquiries concerning PED use, noting that his challenge will go through the “process”.  If the suspension is upheld, it would be the longest non-lifetime suspension in baseball history.

In addition to proving that Rodriguez used PEDs, MLB must be able to support why it singled Rodriguez out for a significantly longer suspension than Braun, Cabrera, Cruz, and Peralta.  Reportedly, MLB is also accusing Rodriguez of promoting Biogenesis to other players and/or trying to pay off witnesses against him.  However, in the arbitration, the burden falls upon Bud Selig to prove that Rodriguez, technically a first-time offender under baseball’s drug policy, should be made to serve a suspension not only four times longer than that meted out to the other 12, but also four times longer than the stipulated penalty for a first offense in the negotiated agreement.

While Rodriguez’s appeal is pending, Rodriguez will be able to play for the Yankees and collect the remainder of his $28 million 2013 salary and most likely an additional $6 million bonus if he hits 13 home runs to catch Willie Mays on the all time career home run list.

It is noted that the Blue Jays’ Melky Cabrera, Athletics’ Bartolo Colon, and Padres’ Yasmani Grandal have also been connected to Biogenesis; however, all three of those players served a fifty (50) game suspensions for PED use in 2012 and will not face additional discipline in 2013.

A review of the names of the suspended players indicates a high concentration of Dominican, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan players.  The lone exception, Ryan Braun, attended the University of Miami, which is located near the Biogenesis offices. MLB is still investigating agents and player agencies that may have promoted PED use to their clients.







Antonio Bastardo

(Dominican Republic)

Pitcher Philadelphia Phillies Reliever 50 Games
Ryan Braun

(University of Miami)

3rd Base/


Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NL MVP 65 Games
Everth Cabrera


Shortstop San Diego Padres ALL STAR

2012 NL Stolen Base Leader

50 Games
Francisco Cervelli


Catcher New York Yankees   50 Games
Nelson Cruz

(Dominican Republic)

Outfield Texas Rangers ALL STAR 50 Games
Fautino De Los Santos

(Dominican Republic)

Pitcher Free Agent   50 Games
Sergio Escalona


Pitcher Houston Astros Minors 50 Games
Fernando Martinez

(Dominican Republic)

Outfield New York Yankees Minors 50 Games
Jesus Montero


Catcher Seattle Mariners Minors 50 Games
Jordan Norberto

(Dominican Republic)

Pitcher Free Agent   50 Games
Jhonny Peralta

(Dominican Republic)

  Detroit Tigers ALL STAR 50 Games
Cesar Puello

(Dominican Republic)

Outfield New York Mets Minors 50 Games
Alex Rodriguez

(New York City/Dominican Republic/Miami)

3rd Base New York Yankees 3X AL MVP 211 Games
Jordany Valdespin

(Dominican Republic)

Outfield New York Mets Minors 50 Games


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.