Guilt by association. Guilty until proven innocent. It's been a rough week for baseball fans in the nation's capital, who have been left to wonder for several days (and might be wondering for a while now) what to think of the fact that Washington Nationals' left-hander Gio Gonzalez was one of seven major leaguers (along with Nelson Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal, Melky Cabrera and Cesar Carrillo) whose names were included in an explosive Miami New Times' article by Tim Elfrink which connected the MLB players to Anthony Bosch, the owner of an anti-aging clinic in Florida called "Biogenesis" which is suspected of, "... selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids," to professional athletes.
• LINK: Tuesday - Gio Gonzalez Mentioned In Miami New Times' Report
Gonzalez, 27, whose father admitted in the article to having dealt with Mr. Bosch, but denied any involvement on his son's behalf, claimed on Twitter that he's never taken PEDs or even met with the Mr. Bosch, whose personal notebooks implicated the lefty according to this week's report. In an appearance on the MLB Network, Miami New Times' editor Chuck Strouse stated that the records they have, in his words, "... show, or seem to show that some performance-enhancing drugs were delivered to [Gonzalez]."
The Miami New Times' report is based on, "... patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by [Mr. Bosch]," which were given to them by a former clinic employee. The paper's reporters, as they wrote in the article, conducted, "Interviews with six customers and two former employees," who corroborated, "the tale told by the patient files, the payment records, and the handwritten notebooks kept by the clinic's chief." In a follow-up article which published images from Mr. Bosch's personal notebooks, Gonzalez's name appears on several pages, listed alongside his father's and at other times alone, in one instance on the same page as a forumla for a "pink cream" described elsewhere in the report as, "... a complex formula that also includes testosterone."
• LINK: Wednesday - Images: Gio Gonzalez's name in Tony Bosch's Notebooks
Though Gonzalez has never failed a drug test and though none of the other substances mentioned in connection to him in the article are believed to be substances banned by Major League Baseball, Gonzalez's name appears alongside others in the article who failed drug tests and were suspended this past season (Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Yasmani Grandal) and one who has admitted to having used PEDs earlier in his career (Alex Rodriguez). Gonzalez also has a connection, as the Washington Post's James Wagner and The Washington Times' Amanda Comak noted this week, to, "Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach for the [Miami] Hurricanes baseball team for the past nine seasons," whose name also turned up in Tuesday's Miami New Times' report:
"Goins is recorded in multiple client lists; in one detailed page dated December 14, 2011, Bosch writes he's selling him Anavar, testosterone, and a Winstrol/B-12 mix and charging him $400 a month. Another, from this past December, includes sales of HGH and testosterone."
Gonzalez had previously posted a photo via Instagram of himself with Mr. Goins, described in the caption as his, "offseason strength coach," which was then linked in every article on the subject and suddenly seen in a different light after the two were mentioned in the Miami New Times' article. Bad optics. Mr. Goins, through his attorney, denied any any wrongdoing or connection to Mr. Bosch and the Biogenesis clinic as quoted in a Florida Sun-Sentinel article by author Michael Casagrande:
"He hasn't done anything wrong either personally or as a representative of the University of Miami," said [Gordon] Fenderson, an attorney specializing in DUI defense with offices in Jacksonville and Coral Gables. "And as far as being on a client list of a certain doctor, any connection of the University of Miami or their baseball program would be purely coincidental."
• LINK (w/ a h/t to @NationalsReview): "Ex-Miami Hurricanes player says Jimmy Goins will be cleared in PED scandal" - Clark Spencer, Susan Miller Degnan and Barry Jackson, Miami Herald
Mr. Bosch too denied the allegations in the article and specifically any connection to, "MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez or Gio Gonzalez," in a statement included in a follow-up article by the Miami New Times' Mr. Elfrink earlier this week:
"The Miami New Times Story dated January 29, 2013 is filled with inaccuracies, innuendo and misstatements of fact. Mr. Bosch vehemently denies the assertions that MLB players such as Alex Rodriguez and Gio Gonzalez were treated by or associated with him."
The Law Office Of Susy Ribero-Ayala, P.A.
Major League Baseball has launched an investigation into the claims made in the Miami New Times' article as they announced the morning it was published this past Tuesday. The Nationals' lone comment on the matter came from D.C. GM Mike Rizzo, who released a statement which said simply, "The issue is currently being reviewed by Major League Baseball and it would be inappropriate for the Nationals to comment until that review is completed."
A Yahoo!Sports.com report by Jeff Passan on Wednesday said MLB representatives planned to travel to Florida to talk to the Miami New Times about releasing the records upon which the story is based and his sources told Mr. Passan Major League Baseball would eventually interview all of the players named in the article as well:
"If the newspaper does release the records to the league, not only could it bolster MLB's case when arguing for potential 50-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Cruz and Gonzalez, it could provide an ever greater look at the scope of Biogenesis owner and alleged peddler Anthony Bosch's operation – and add more names beyond the sullied six."
A New York Times' report on Friday by Steve Eder, Lizette Alvarez and Michael S. Schmidt said Major League Baseball was busy trying to, "... penetrate the often opaque world of anti-aging clinics," in and around Miami, Florida including another "Revive Miami" in which Mr. Bosch was once a partner. A source the NY Times speaks to in the article, Xavier Romero, is a former patient and investor in Revive Miami with Mr. Bosch who said the latter's role in the business was to, "... use his contacts to get the prescriptions necessary to fuel the business, although it remains unclear how he obtained chemicals like human growth hormone." Both clinics have since closed.
Elswehere in this weekend's New York Times' report they discuss how baseball officials were initially led to look at some of the clinics in Florida after discovering that Melky Cabrera and an employee of "player agents Sam and Seth Levinson," reportedly participated in a "plot" to help Cabrera, "... hatch a cover-up scheme to avoid being suspended for testing positive for elevated testosterone," last season. The employee, the writers note, was believed to be one of several intermediaries (they use the plural) who actually met with Mr. Bosch rather than having the players visit the offices of "Biogenesis":
"Major League Baseball investigators believe that many of the players never met face to face with Bosch there, receiving substances instead through intermediaries, according to two baseball officials briefed on the matter. The investigators’ suspicions have been stoked in recent days by several denials from players who said they never had direct contact with Bosch."
Gio Gonzalez, the NY Times' report notes, is a client of the Levinsons along with Melky Cabrera and Nelson Cruz.
What all of this "evidence" involving Gonzalez amounts to is unclear. As the New York Times' reporters write in the article, "Without more substantial evidence," MLB officials, "... are limited in their actions." They will likely speak to the MLB players involved in the near future, but according to a CBSSports.com report by Matt Snyder and Jon Heyman this weekend, they won't do so until they've done their own investigation:
"MLB officials believe they have one shot at all involved and want to make sure they have a sure thing before going after anyone specifically. The league seeks definitive proof before going after anyone, which will be difficult to obtain."
Meanwhile, Gonzalez, the first left-hander from the nation's capital to win 20 games or more since Earl Whitehill in 1933, remains under a cloud of suspicion. The Nationals, according to a report this past Thursday published by CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler, are concerned enough about a potential suspension that they're considering their options should they lose Gonzalez at any point in 2013:
"The Nationals and Rangers aren't talking publicly, at least not until MLB's investigation is complete and any penalties are handed out. But people familiar with both teams say they are very concerned that they could lose Gonzalez and/or Cruz to a 50-game suspension, and have begun discussing what to do about it."
Would the Nats consider making another move for a starter, Mr. Knobler asks, since the depth in terms of major league-ready starters in the organization was already a concern for a team that's considered a World Series contender? The problem for the Nationals and for the players whose names came out in the report is that there's no telling when the investigation into the matter will conclude.