By Steve Kallas
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So let’s get this straight: Anthony Bosch, who allegedly has all the dirt that Major League Baseball needs to get A-Rod, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera (more on his special case later) and a host of others, is going to meet with MLB and spill his guts in exchange for various things from the league.
Everyone seems sure that he will just show up and testify.
How can this be?
WHY WOULD BOSCH INCRIMINATE HIMSELF?
It’s a fascinating question. This case seems to be a little backwards. Normally, if you are being sued for money, the last thing you would do is testify and hurt yourself on a bigger stage (the U.S. government).
The first thing you would do is either not testify or plead the Fifth Amendment. The second that Bosch says, “I gave performance-enhancing drugs to (fill in the blank),” he’s incriminated himself.
If he’s just being sued for money by MLB and he’s as broke and desperate as everyone reports, what does he care if there’s a judgment against him — that, presumably, is uncollectible cause he’s broke — versus having a federal indictment against him?
It makes very little sense. According to reports in the New York Daily News, the United States Attorney in Miami is interested in “opening” an investigation into Bosch.
What does that mean? It says here that, at a minimum, Bosch’s lawyer and/or Bosch must have some assurances — explicitly or implicitly — that, if he cooperates with MLB, he won’t be facing serious jail time if and when he’s indicted by the feds.
Without that promise, why would he testify, no matter what perceived pressure he’s under? While MLB has sweetened the pot by dropping its lawsuit against Bosch, offering him protection, indemnifying him from any financial liability and promising to “put in a good word” for Bosch if and when he’s indicted, that’s still a long way from keeping him out of jail — which, one presumes, is the key goal here at the end of the day if you’re Bosch or his lawyer.
IF HE DOES TESTIFY, HIS CREDIBILITY LONG AGO LEFT THE BUILDING
Lawyers for whichever players are eventually charged are going to have a field day with Bosch if this ever gets before an arbitrator. Here’s what Bosch stated back in late April — you know, less than six weeks ago — while denying to ESPN that he knew anything about PEDs: “I have been accused, tried and convicted in the media. And so I think I have been falsely accused throughout the media. I’ve done nothing wrong.”
He also called what the media has done to him “character assassination.”
So that’s great stuff for cross-examination before an arbitrator: “Were you lying then or are you lying now. Were you ‘paid’ by MLB for your testimony? So, no matter what you testify to you are a liar, right?”
Any way you slice it, MLB is going to need a lot more than testimony from Bosch that, so far, has been presented as this incredible find for MLB.
WHY IS MELKY CABRERA THE MOST INTERESTING NAME ON THE LIST?
Well that’s easy. Nobody, including Cabrera, quite understands the trouble that he might be in.
Why? Because, as you know, in baseball it’s three strikes and your out. Unlike virtually all the other players on the list –although Bartolo Colon has also been suspended — Cabrera already has one strike against him. The first strike is a 50-game suspension, which Cabrera got for testosterone last year. The second strike is a 100-game suspension. The third strike? You’re out … forever.
So if MLB gets its way, if it can be proven that Cabrera lied to an investigator — remember the phony website deal? — and the arbitrator buys the potential 100-game suspension request, he would get 100 games for his violation in this case. If it’s then shown that he did additional PEDs over and above what he was suspended for last year, well, that’s a lifetime ban.
And you can put Colon, who got his own 50-game suspension last year, potentially in the same boat as Cabrera.
Cabrera himself really doesn’t get it.
According to the Daily News, here’s what Cabrera said: “If they suspend me again, I think it would be harsh punishment because I already served my sentence. But it’s up to them. I believe I’ve already served my sentence, especially missing the playoffs. That’s what hurt me the most.”
Well it didn’t hurt the World Series-winning Giants, who immediately cut ties with Cabrera last year.
Cabrera and Colon, even more than A-Rod and Braun, need good lawyers now. It says here that no arbitrator would approve, in essence, a lifetime ban. In fact, it will be very hard for an arbitrator, assuming it gets this far, to approve a 100-game ban for all players not named Cabrera or Colon.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
In the not-too-distant past, Bosch said that the allegations against him were “bulls—.”
He has a lawyer, Susy Ribero-Ayala, who said that Bosch would not be talking “anytime very soon.” Whether this is anytime very soon or not is now irrelevant.
If Bosch really does spill his guts on Friday, he’s opened himself up to criminal prosecution and possible jail time — unless he has some kind of promise and/or deal that we don’t know about. And the lawyers for the players — and you know they will be good ones — will be salivating and getting in line for their opportunity, probably before an arbitrator, to cross-examine him.
Absent some incredible documentary evidence and/or testimony from others who don’t have the credibility problems that Bosch has, it’s hard to believe that these players will get 50-games suspensions, let alone 100 (with Cabrera and Colon in that different category).
We’ll see if the fireworks actually start on Friday.
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