As the Biogenesis scandal over banned substances being used in Major League Baseball grew over the last few months, everyone knew that a sizable contingent of players was going to get caught up in some kind of suspension. Finally, Bud Selig and MLB lowered the boom on 19 players, most prominently Alex Rodriguez. Immediately following official word of who was suspended and for how many games, baseball media produced story after story looking at all the angles. What had happened, how did it happened, how does the player's association feel about it, did MLB actually have the power to do what they did? One question asked and answered concerned the central connection between these 19 players from five different countries who all end up at Biogenesis. That answer seems to be ACES.
ACES is an agency for representing baseball players. They are agents. And they were at one time or another involved with 13 of 19 guys on the list. This definitely begs some questions. MLB is reportedly looking into them again but at this time says there's no evidence to connect them directly to the scandal. Could ACES be innocent of any wrong-doing?
Chris Cotillo at MLB Daily Dish wasn't satisfied with what he had heard so far on the ACES angle. So he did what he should have done, decided to dig deeper. He wanted to know what other agents thought about the ACES connection. He wanted a fresh angle to help move the story. What he got was a no holds barred batch of quotes that drip with suspicion and even anger. The agents had to be anonymously quoted since they wanted to protect their professional relationships with ACES. All of them are MLBPA certified agents.
On whether ACES knew about the the players and Biogenesis, or even were somehow complicit, they let fly. Some samples:
"You can't say that they didn't know about it," the agent who spoke about Nunez said. "I think they [ACES] should be kicked out, personally, but I don't think it's going to happen."
"They think they are bulletproof," said the agent, speaking about ACES. "It's like Watergate, follow the money. How does a check drawn from an account with the Levinsons' name on it end up in the hands of a known steroid distributor?"
"They run too successful of an agency to have something like that just be happening under their watch."
They had plenty more to say about the ACES agency, including how ACES players are now shopping for new representation in the wake of the scandal and how the union is too cozy with ACES for anything to happen. Please go over and check out the whole article, it's packed with plenty more information.
I asked author Cotillo for a little background on this story, like how did he decide to pursue this angle? He mentioned that the connection to ACES had been well-publicized, but he wondered what the other agents in baseball were thinking. That pushed him to call some agents on Monday night. I asked if it was hard to get them to comment even though they would be anonymous. Cotillo said most were eager to speak, five out of the eight agents he called spilled their true feelings, only three wouldn't comment. I concluded by asking about ACES. He noted he had no agenda about ACES but thought this would be a fresh angle on the story. He also believes that despite these agents comments on how closely tied ACES should be to the scandal, no punishment will be forthcoming.
SB Nation congratulates Chris Cotillo and MLB Daily Dish on a piece of original reporting that hit on a fresh angle and produced news-worthy quotes. Nice job!