MLB Planning Formal Investigation Of ACES Agency's Connections To PED Suspensions
MLB, 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," according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Sam and Seth Levinson, who operate ACES, have "insisted for months that Nunez was nothing more than a rogue employee" who provided clients with PEDs from Biogenesis. Padres SS Everth Cabrera, in a "tearful news conference Monday, provided potential damaging testimony" against ACES, saying that he was provided PEDs via the agency, "in particular Nunez." But Cabrera "has not said that Sam and Seth Levinson had direct knowledge of his drug use." Nightengale notes the Levinsons fired Nunez last year. The MLBPA investigated the Levinsons last year in light of the suspension of then-Giants LF Melky Cabrera, "but issued only a reprimand, infuriating MLB." The league now "plans its own formal investigation," while the union "considers the matter closed." MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner in an e-mail wrote, "We don't plan any reopened investigation into ACES. Despite all the new 'evidence' none of it linked Sam or Seth (or their assistants) in any way to any of the use of PEDs" (USA TODAY, 8/7). In N.Y., Steve Eder notes Weiner "deflected criticism from the players involved and from the Levinsons, saying that Nunez had played a central role in connecting the players" with Biogenesis Founder Anthony Bosch, and "had acted without the knowledge of his bosses." Weiner: "I think Nunez is a snake. What he did was horrible. ... He should have the book thrown at him." But he added, "Nobody said: 'Sam and Seth set me up. Sam and Seth knew what was going on'" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/7).
NO PLANS TO JUMP SHIP: In Newark, Jorge Castillo notes Mets CF Jordany Valdespin is one of eight suspended players "currently represented by ACES." Four others "recently dropped the agency." Seth Levinson in a statement said, "We had no involvement in and no knowledge of any wrongdoing, as the PA concluded after a thorough investigation." Mets 2B Daniel Murphy and C John Buck, also represented by ACES, "emphatically insisted they are not considering switching agencies." Murphy said, "No chance." Buck: "I trust them. I know they didn't have anything to do with it" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/7). Murphy added, "I have the good fortune of knowing actually what's going on. Sam and Seth Levinson have been nothing but good to me. I trust them fully with my career. They speak for me. I am honored to be a part of ACES" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/7).