The word "extortion" wasn't used in a New York Daily News story Thursday morning about Alex Rodriguez refusing to give money to Anthony Bosch, but perhaps it should have been, given that Major League Baseball now is paying both of them.
Bosch, operator of the shuttered Biogenesis health clinic in Miami who is reputed to have supplied many major leaguers with performance-enhancing drugs, reportedly went to Rodriguez for money in order to help him pay for expected legal expenses incurred in part by an MLB lawsuit against him. After not getting what he wanted from A-Rod, Bosch agreed to cooperate with MLB in its PED investigation of Rodriguez, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers and others.
In a four-person byline, The Daily News reports:
Bosch is expected to provide MLB with enough dirt to suspend Rodriguez and nearly two dozen other players, sources familiar with the Biogenesis case have told The News, including ... Braun, who has had a target on his back since he successfully appealed a positive drug test last year.
According to one source familiar with the investigation, Bosch and his lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, told MLB that Bosch will provide them with damaging information about his past dealings with A-Rod and Braun, including that he “treated” the Brewers slugger when the player was a student at the University of Miami.
That last bit might contradict what Braun has said about Bosch, that he only began to deal with him as a consultant, after the fact, to get help with his appeal with MLB. If Bosch proves that a relationship with Braun goes back to college, it would mean Braun lied about Bosch to MLB, and that might be enough for MLB to suspend Braun (again) and make it stick. But that's getting ahead.
MLB seems interested in disciplining Braun at any cost. They even appear willing to pay what amounts to extortion money in order to do it. More from the Daily News:
The value of any information that Bosch might provide, however, is sure to be challenged by the implicated players, since baseball officials have agreed to a series of demands from Bosch that include dropping the lawsuit MLB filed against him earlier this year and paying his legal bills, indemnifying him for any civil liability that arises from his cooperation and providing him with personal security.
If MLB tries to discipline players with Bosch's testimony, the players will appeal, and an arbitrator is going to consider the quality of MLB's information, and where it comes from. There's probably going to be reasonable doubt. The suspensions probably would be overturned. The game would have gone through a painful (not to mention obnoxious and wasteful) process with no payoff. And it would be MLB, and not the alleged drug cheats it pursues recklessly, with nobody to blame but itself.