Thurm: On MLB’s suspensions of Alex Rodriguez and 12 others in the BioGenesis scandal

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on August 5, 2013:

Major League Baseball suspended 13 players today for violations of the Joint Drug Agreement based on evidence collected in its investigation of Biogenesis, the now-shuttered “anti-aging” clinic run by Anthony Bosch.

Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), Nelson Cruz (Rangers), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Francisco Cervilli (Yankees), Jesus Montero (Mariners), Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), Jordany Valdespin (Mets) and Sergio Escalona (Astros) were suspended for 50 games and agreed to forgo the appeal process, and will begin serving their suspensions immediately. Minor-league players Fernando Martinez (Astros), Jordan Norberto (free agent, formerly with the A’s), Fautino de los Santos (Padres) and Cesar Puello (Mets) also agreed to 50 game suspensions. All but Norberto will begin their suspensions immediately. Norberto’s suspension will become effective when and if he signs a contract with another team. This is a first JDA violation for each of these players.

 The suspensions of Bastardo, Valdespin, and Escalona came as a big surprise, as there had been no previous reports linking those players to Biogenesis or performance enhancing drugs.

Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), Bartolo Colon (A’s), and Yasmani Grandal (Padres) were not suspended for a second violation. All three players tested positive last season and served a 50-game suspension. They were said to be connected to Biogenesis.


In the weeks leading up to MLB’s suspension of Rodriguez, there were reports that Selig was considering invoking his powers under CBA Article XI, Section (A)(1)(b) to suspend Rodriguez for life to preserve “the integrity of, or the maintenance of public confidence in, the game of baseball.” If Selig had done so, Rodriguez would not have had the right to appeal the suspension to the arbitrator, as the “integrity of the game” provision gives the commissioner final say on the matter.

I raised concerns about Selig using this provision in a post entitled “Is Selig Preparing To Use The Nuclear Option?” Many others did, too. Ultimately, the threat of a lifetime ban was seen as nothing more than a heavy-handed negotiating tactic to force Rodriguez to accept a lesser punishment if he agreed to forgo an appeal.

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Originally published: August 8, 2013. Last Updated: August 8, 2013.