Major League Baseball's case against 20 of its players has just gotten stronger.
Judge Ronald Dresnick denied a motion to dismiss the case from Carlos Acevedo, who along with clinic operator Tony Bosch and five others were named in a March civil suit filed by MLB to get information about the PED scandal that involves more than 20 players.
The lawsuit has been a powerful leverage tool for MLB as it tries to coerce cooperation from anyone who can aid its investigation into players' drug use. While some legal experts have questioned whether MLB could win in court, the lawsuit has forced defendants into a potentially costly legal battle to find out.
If Bosch and his associates want to come out of this unscathed, it seems they are going to have to talk to MLB investigators.
The question is now raised—does this strengthen MLB's case against the players it's looking to suspend?
The Background and Players Involved
For those who haven't been tuned into the Biogenesis scandal, here's a little background.
An ex-employee of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami revealed clinic records to the Miami New Times. The records showed names and revealed the clinic was selling performance-enhancing drugs.
Among those listed in the records were Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Yasmani Grandal, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera.
Since then, MLB filed a lawsuit against the six people connected to the clinic for "damaging the sport" and has sought to suspend the players listed for 100 games.
The lawsuit filed is the one the judge decided not to throw out.
Bosch Already Agreeing to Talk
Bosch has already agreed to talk to MLB in exchange for minimal criminal exposure.
Bosch's attorneys hammered out a deal with MLB that sought assurance that officials would help mitigate his criminal exposure in return for his cooperation. Officials promised to do what they could although they have no power to stop a federal criminal investigation. In addition, sources said Major League Baseball promised to drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation and provide personal security for him.
Bosch's testimony by itself could be enough to get many of the 20 players mentioned in the scandal suspended.
However, if the other associates in the lawsuit can get the same deal as Bosch, MLB might drop the lawsuit altogether in exchange for testimony.
That could be particularly damning for the 20 players involved.
What It Means for the 20 Players
The biggest thing is that the players have to get their ducks in a row when it comes to how they came to be in the clinic's records.
Some, like Gio Gonzalez, will likely be exonerated because they only received legal substances from the clinic.
However, for players like Rodriguez and Braun, you can bet MLB is going to drop the hammer.
After failing to catch the suspected cheating of Barry Bonds, MLB is going to take a hard line when it comes to Rodriguez.
Already sitting at 647 career home runs, MLB doesn't want to see a player they perceive as a two-time cheater (once before, which he admitted to) take over one of the most hallowed records in baseball.
While MLB can't do anything about Bonds, it's sure going to try and do something about Rodriguez.
Not to mention the New York Yankees would love nothing more than to see him suspended so they can void the final $86 million left over four more years on his contract.
Then there's Braun, who embarrassed MLB and its collection policies last year by successfully defending his claim that he didn't cheat.
Baseball didn't take too kindly to him questioning the chain of custody and will no doubt look to hammer him here.
Meanwhile, players like Colon, Grandal and Cabrera have already been suspended for PED use. This will only add to the list.
For the others, their best bet is just to be honest and admit they made a mistake. The worst thing they can do is lie and get caught. That will tick off MLB like none other.
Is There Strength to the Case?
When a judge declines to throw out a lawsuit against men who hold the key to possibly suspending MLB players, that says a lot.
Those six men must now decide if they are willing to pony up big bucks to clear their names and save the players' reputations or if it would be easier to testify against the players.
MLB can hold the civil lawsuit over their heads and agree to drop it only after they testify.
If they don't, money and legal troubles will follow them for many years to come.
This decision absolutely strengthens the case against the 20 players. The biggest question now is: Who will be the first to admit wrongdoing?
If none do, then the (supposed) evidence MLB has against the players could be enough to effectively ruin the careers of many.
For some, just one more offense would get them banned from baseball for life.
That's not exactly what they imagined as a kid growing up.