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MLB is concerned about ACES’ links to Biogenesis, but it can’t do anything about it

Aug 7, 2013, 10:31 AM EDT

Sam Seth Levinson Getty Images

Over the past several days there have been multiple articles in which the ACES agency, run by the Levinson Brothers, has been scrutinized due to the fact that the vast majority of players suspended in the Biogenesis scandal are or were represented by the agency. ACES was censured by the MLBPA last year in the wake of Melky Cabrera‘s suspension for its failure to properly supervise its former consultant, Juan Carlos Nunez, who is alleged to have steered players to Biogenesis and who was behind the efforts of Cabrera to deflect blame for his positive test via the formation of a phony website.

On Monday we reported that no additional adverse action would be taken against ACES. Yesterday we noted how multiple agents are dissatisfied with this and have spoken out against the agency.  Today Bob Nightengale reports that Major League Baseball remains interested in the matter:

Major League Baseball, armed with evidence that every player suspended 50 games Monday in its intensive drug probe were linked by the same agency, plans to turn its attention to baseball agents, particularly Juan Carlos Nunez and the ACES agency.

It may be “turning its attention” to ACES, but there is nothing MLB can do about it.  Agents are sanctioned by the MLBPA, not Major League Baseball. The MLBPA has sole jurisdiction over agents and it has already said that there is no evidence that ACES was aware of or condoned Nunez’s behavior. There is no basis for discipline there and MLBPA will not be taking any. To say MLB is concerned about it is akin to saying MLB is concerned about the weather. It can talk about it all it wants, but it can’t do a thing about it.

Going forward, this story should be seen for what it is: agents trying to gain an advantage over ACES via attempts to leverage bad press. Which, as we noted yesterday, is par for the course for agents. All agents, always.  It’s like a sewing circle.

  1. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    If the investigative arm of MLB (who ever knew there was such a thing?) uncovers evidence of ACES involvement and presents such evidence to the MLBPA and /or law enforcement, MLB might have some effect on all of this. Let’s say, for instance, they offer a reduced suspension to a player for providing evidence against the agents.

    Given MLB’s recent m.o., it seems they are more likely to cut a deal with ACES in hopes of busting a utility man and a couple of minor leaguers somewhere. If however, MLB suddenly decides to devote resources to going after the supply chain, they certainly have some potentially effective tools at their disposal.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 8, 2013 at 8:07 AM

      What if Arod were to “provide evidence against the agents” as you mentioned above about MLB offering a reduced sentence for a player who would do that. Would Bud reduce his sentence?

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Bud prefers to go the opposite direction, partnering with the drug dealers in order to bust a few end users. I would say Bud’s ARod agenda is fairly obvious, and it has little to do with cleaning up the sport as a whole.

  2. Old Gator - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    MLB can never have too many scapegoats.

  3. rbj1 - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    If I’m a GM, and there are two comparable players out there, one repped by Aces, I’ll probably go with the other guy. More of a chance that he won’t be sitting for 50 games.

    • Old Gator - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:31 PM

      If you’re a GM, and you’re getting paid what a MLB GM gets paid, you kinda owe it to your employer to know that the loose cannon employee of ACES who connected their clients to Bufogenesis was shitcanned a year ago.

      • bfunk1978 - Aug 7, 2013 at 1:13 PM

        For a time, at least, I would view Nunez as a scapegoat of the agency’s , and would be cautious of ACES-represented players until some time passes and I’m convinced it was really just him and not agency policy.

  4. Francisco (FC) - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    So has anyone interviewed Arliss?

  5. galtur - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    It isn’t difficult to imagine agents funneling players to “anti-aging” clinics: PEDs improve performance, thus improving contract value and in turn the agent’s take.

    Craig I know you did a piece a couple weeks ago about the obstacles in voiding contracts, but the reasons you gave seemed far from insurmountable. The incentives for agents to help players access PEDs only seems like another reason for voiding contracts attained under false pretenses. I believe in the piece you did on the matter of voiding contracts you mentioned the legal obstacle of indentured servitude (maybe I read it somewhere else) but the contract can be voided and the player can still earn a paycheck. They can still play for the league minimum for a year or two depending on the agreed penalty. Another alternative would be arbitration.

  6. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 7, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Since when did the MLB turn into the FBI? All these investigations, subpoenas, suspensions for hindering investigations, penalties for lying to investigators. If Bud had any idea how to use a computer, I’d be worried they were hacking email and twitter accounts too!

  7. badintent - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:36 AM

    someone call TomCruise.. show me the Money !!!

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