So it's now been a few weeks since the Miami New Times broke sort of a huge story about pro athletes, including a bunch of baseball players, and banned drugs. Among the players mentioned were Yasmani Grandal, Melky Cabrera, and Bartolo Colón; all three failed drug tests last year, and drew 50-game suspensions. Cabrera and Grandal have served theirs; Grandal will serve his suspension this spring and really seems to have deserved it.
Alex Rodríguez was in there too, of course. Maybe enough's already been said about him this month.
What's still interesting are those players who were named in the story about Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch and all those drugs, but have not been suspended or (to our knowledge) failed a drug test. The following quotes (or not) have been pulled together from various sources, because afterward I'd like to make a point ...
Ryan Braun: "During the course of preparing for my successful appeal... my attorneys, who were previously familiar with Tony Bosch, used him as a consultant. More specifically, he answered questions about [testosterone-to-epitestosterone] ratio and possibilities of tampering with samples... I have nothing to hide and have never had any other relationship with Bosch."
Francisco Cervelli: "I talked to somebody who recommended [Biogenesis]. I went there, I asked questions and that's it. I walked away with nothing in my hand. Right now, I realize that maybe it was a mistake to go there, but it already happened, so what can I do?"
(Nelson Cruz's lawyers: "We are aware of certain allegations and inferences. To the extent these allegations and inferences refer to Nelson, they are denied.")
Gio González: "There is no connection, [except] for the fact that … my father already admitted that he was a patient there, a legitimate patient. And then after that, you know how my father is… All of South Florida, all of baseball knows that my father is the most proud father in baseball. Says hi. Tells everyone about his son. And that's the best I can say. You know, other than that, I have no clue why my name was on that list or in that notebook or anything."
Jhonny Peralta: "I've talked to my lawyer. I don't have comment on that, nothing to say about it... We can talk about the year coming up."
Danny Valencia: "There's really not much to it ... Basically, I've never had any contact with those people. I've never met Anthony Bosch, I've never seen him, never been to that clinic, never heard of that clinic until the story first broke. That being said, I've never, ever taken a PED in my life. Never failed a drug test in my life and I never will."
Valencia's denial categorical. IF Valencia had gotten involved with Biogenesis or Bosch in some meaningful way, somebody probably would have noticed and he's probably going to be caught in a lie. If he'd been involved, no matter how little (or how much), the smart play would be to say something like what Cervelli said, or González. Yeah, I knew about Biogenesis but they never gave me anything I'm not supposed to have. Of course, guys don't always make the smart play. Still, at the moment I'm inclined to believe Valencia.
The other guys, though? Hell, I don't know. I guess at this point it doesn't really matter. If they're guilty, it'll probably come out, and Cruz's and Peralta's non-denials don't bode well for their Aprils and Mays.
But why would all those names be in Bosch's notes if they weren't doing anything shady? Here's one possibility, from a piece last week in the Times:
"He is an individual that talks a big game — you need to dot your I’s and cross your T’s, because a lot of the stuff he says is not there," said Jaen, adding that he liked Bosch personally, finding him nice to be around.
Jaen said that he would not be surprised to learn that Bosch had embellished his patient notes to lure an investor to his clinic.
"There are too many people and too many big names for it to be accurate," Jaen said, adding, "They might bring back Jimmy Hoffa and find out he was injected, too."
Heh. Jimmy Hoffa. Nice touch. But you know, there aren't that many people or big names in Bosch's notes. Here's another possibility, though: Maybe Bosch's list of names was a sort of hit list, players he hoped to "work" with. I mean, I'm just spitballing here. But you can come up with a lot of possibilities that don't include the surety that every player in Bosch's notes was breaking the rules.
I'll bet we know a lot more a month from now, and I'll bet two or three of these guys get suspended.