But instead of exonerating Cabrera of steroid use, the Internet stunt trapped him in a web of lies. Amid the information-gathering phase of his doping case last month, his cover story unraveled quickly, and what might have been a simple suspension has attracted further attention from federal investigators and MLB, the Daily News has learned. . . .
The scheme began unfolding in July as Cabrera and his representatives scrambled to explain a spike in the former Yankee’s testosterone levels. Cabrera associate Juan Nunez, described by the player’s agents, Seth and Sam Levinson, as a “paid consultant” of their firm but not an “employee,” is alleged to have paid $10,000 to acquire the phony website. The idea, apparently, was to lay a trail of digital breadcrumbs suggesting Cabrera had ordered a supplement that ended up causing the positive test, and to rely on a clause in the collectively bargained drug program that allows a player who has tested positive to attempt to prove he ingested a banned substance through no fault of his own.
“There was a product they said caused this positive,” one source familiar with the case said of Cabrera’s scheme. “Baseball figured out the ruse pretty quickly.”
Nunez told The News Saturday that he was “accepting responsibility for what everyone else already knows,” regarding the fake website, adding that the Levinsons were not involved in the website in any way. They also adamantly deny any knowledge of the scheme or having been involved with it.
DB: You’re not in Boston anymore, so can you give your honest opinion of “Sweet Caroline”?
JR: Overrated. By far. I was saying that even before I left Boston [laughs]. You just hear it too many times in your career in that organization. All the way from low-A to the big leagues. I think we just get tired of it. Every eighth inning. But the fans love it.
Deploying any six-man rotation means conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the moving parts of a roster. Teams that use a six-man rotation typically carry 13 pitchers. If you’re a percentage person, that’s 52% of a given roster as pitchers, with 24% of them working just once every six days. In a perfect world, that sixth starter will also pitch some innings in relief, but that’s rarely the case. It’s undeniable that there is a push towards maintaining an arsenal of specialized pitchers, but the six-man handicaps strategic options. There are a finite number of roster positions that no amount of shuffling can supplement. If you have an extra starter, you have one less bullpen pitcher or bench player. If you choose to have an extra starter and keep a full bullpen, the roster is now limited to just three bench players.
That’s it. Have a walk-off week!