Major League Baseball reportedly has found people willing to give corroboration to Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch's stories, which will undoubtedly help its case in suspending players accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.
What's shocking is who was willing to supply the information.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, MLB's most notable corroborating witnesses in its investigation into the Biogenesis drug ring are minor league players connected with the Miami-based clinic. The league had been looking for corroboration to the stories told by Bosch, whose questionable reputation is internally seen as a hurdle in the investigation.
Passan's report notes that "multiple" minor leaguers met with MLB executives and gave detailed histories of their dealings with Biogenesis. The league, while threatening to suspend players for not cooperating, offered immunity in exchange for their sworn testimonies.
While there will be many who jump to "turncoat" accusations, minor leaguers' reasoning for testifying was rooted in their non-inclusion in the MLBPA—barring membership on a team's 40-man roster. Under that bylaw, they are not subject to the same rights and processes afforded to those in the MLBPA, per Passan.
The minor leagues have long been MLB's testing ground for harsher PED penalties, and Passan cites the 100-game suspension of Cesar Carrillo as giving the unnamed players impetus to comply with the desires of the investigators. Carrillo was dealt an extra 50 games onto his suspension for lying to investigators about his PED use.
As reported by ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, Pedro Gomez and Mike Fish, MLB struck a deal last week with Bosch to testify about the dealings of Biogenesis, a now-defunct wellness clinic accused of running a rampant PED ring. Bosch and his associates are accused of providing human-growth hormone, anabolic steroids and artificial testosterone to at least 20 MLB players.
The story of Biogenesis' dealings was broken by Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times in January. Upon the initial story, MLB opened an investigation into the matter and began digging for information. Emboldened by their findings, investigators and the commissioner's office sought out Bosch to corroborate their information so that they could start the suspension process for those implicated.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are the two most notable names included in the report. According to the ESPN report, MLB is looking to suspend Rodriguez and Braun for 100 games apiece—much in the same way Carillo was suspended, both for lying and PED use.
And a source close to the investigation told Passan that the investigation might get even more explosive. Though "about 20" players are expected to face a suspension, the list of players implicated could be far more reaching.
"There are others who went there," the source said. "Big names. I don't know if they're in the notes, but if Tony tells the whole story, they'll be in there."
Though it's unclear whether Bosch gave the additional names, it's looking like MLB's investigation into this matter just got a whole lot stronger regardless.
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