News broke earlier this evening that MLB has made a major breakthrough in the Biogenesis of America scandal:
Tony Bosch the owner of Biogenesis of America has agreed to cooperate with MLB. This could mean bad news for Fernando Martinez who was one of those players along with Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun named in documents that MLB acquired back in February.
Martinez is currently playing at the Astros Class AAA club in Oklahoma City where players have no union, which means if Bosch confirms that he gave Martinez an illegal substance he could be suspended without an appeal.* I am unclear if Martinez can appeal through the union since he played at the major league level earlier this year but is currently in the minors.
Updated: As clack points out below minor leagues do have an opportunity to appeal. The question remains about how much the MLBPA will back Fernando Martinez who's playing in Class AAA instead of the major leagues. The assumption is that they will back him in the event of an appeal.
Bosch only recently agreed to cooperate, so it may take a few weeks or even months for any suspensions to be handed out. We're also not certain why Martinez went to Bosch. He could have gone to Bosch for something illegal or something legal. We'll have to wait and see how things play out, for the moment though this is not a list any player wants to be on.
Astros County published an article noting that Brad Peacock and Rhiner Cruz are represented by the same ACES agency as Fernando Martinez and several other MLB players who have been associated with the Biogenesis investigation. Go check it out:
Update from Clack:
Stark and Heyman are reporting that Bosch will implicate many, many other names. They say that they are told that some more star players are involved. Take that for what it's worth, which probably isn't much.
No suspensions will take place until appeals are completed. And, given that any appeal will involve fact witness testimony, rather than drug test results, and thus be more like a criminal trial, I would think that this will take awhile as the players association attorneys prepare for their attack on the witness.
Supposedly MLB intends to seek 100 game suspensions for some of the players on the basis that "lying to investigators" about the incident and the actual purchase of the drugs are two separate offenses, meaning two violations. I haven't looked at it, but some lawyers who post at BBTF say that this will be difficult to uphold on appeal, given the CBA.
Minor leaguers have the right of appeal too. Here is an example of a minor leaguer winning an appeal. Given that these suspensions will depend on the testimony of someone who is trying to avoid criminal charges, I would think that the MLBPA will be concerned about the appeals of guys like F-Mart as well as the major leaguers.
Craig Calcaterra has a very critical article on MLB's approach to the drug suspensions.
Update: MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner has issued a news release on the Biogenesis Report
"The Players Association has been in regular contact with the Commissioner's Office regarding the Biogenesis investigation. They are in the process of interviewing players and every player has been or will be represented by an attorney from the Players Association. The Commissioner's Office has assured us that no decisions regarding discipline have been made or will be made until those interviews are completed. It would be unfortunate if anyone prejudged those investigations.
The Players Association has every interest in both defending the rights of players and in defending the integrity of our joint program. We trust that the Commissioner's Office shares these interests."