And you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, didn’t you? Just when we thought we were in a Biogenesis lull and could actually focus on what was happening on the field and on the waiver wire, we were hit with this tidbit this morning:
"60 Minutes" has learned that members of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's inner circle in February obtained and leaked documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun as well as his own Yankees teammate, catcher Francisco Cervelli, in the doping scandal that has enveloped Major League Baseball. The leak came just days after the weekly newspaper Miami New Times published documents in January detailing Rodriguez's pervasive use of performance enhancing drugs.
(Jason Cohen has posted the full story).
I yawned when I first read it but the more I thought about it, the weirder it seemed. We have no idea if it is true. "60 Minutes" offers no attribution, so we should take this report with a grain of salt. David Cornwell, Rodriguez’s attorney, has denied the story, but unless he can account for the actions of every member of Rodriguez’s "inner circle," his denial deserves a grain of salt, too.
Think of the questions and issues this story raises.
If true, this story may corroborate MLB’s claim that Rodriguez obstructed its investigation. If Rodriguez obtained Biogenesis documents just days after Miami New Times broke the story, one can infer that he got them to keep them away from MLB investigators. If so, that sounds like obstruction.
But that’s where the craziness starts. If you obtain documents to keep them away from the authorities, you hide or destroy them. You don’t leak them to a reporter who will publish their contents to the world. This leak sounds a little counter-productive, doesn’t it?
The popular theory is that Team A-Rod leaked the documents to take heat off Rodriguez by deflecting the Biogenesis spotlight to Braun, Melky Cabrera and Cervelli but that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. I suppose Braun makes some sense because he beat an earlier PED case and many people are still upset about it. However, in the relative scheme of things, Braun is not the lightning rod or star that Rodriguez is. Maybe the leak would take some heat off in Milwaukee but it didn’t exactly work in New York. Cabrera may make some sense, given his recent PED suspension, but he is hardly a household name like Rodriguez. Cervelli makes no sense. Implicating a back-up catcher who has been on the disabled list for most of the season would hardly divert much heat.
Who could be responsible for the "60 Minutes" story? One is tempted to blame MLB. After all, the story portrays Rodriguez in a bad light and suggests that he did some underhanded things early in the Biogenesis investigation. But how would MLB know the source of the original leak? A reporter who has a source inside Team A-Rod isn’t about to let others know about it. He or she is especially not going to disclose it to MLB. Burning a source is a pretty good way to lose that source and is hardly recommended for cultivating new sources. The source himself/herself wouldn’t talk either. Anonymous sources are anonymous sources because they want their anonymity protected.
Some accounts suggest that the earlier leak may get Rodriguez in trouble because it violates the confidentiality standards of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We’ll have to wait and see. A member of Team A-Rod who is not affiliated with major-league baseball is not bound by the Joint Program. For MLB to get anywhere, it would have to show that Rodriguez leaked the information or directed someone else to do so. Even then, since the leak did not pertain to positive test results or treatment conducted under the program, it may fall outside the program’s confidentiality requirements.