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MLB Strengthens Drug Testing Around hGH and Testosterone PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 10 January 2013 18:06

MLBMajor League Baseball and the MLB Players Association today announced substantial changes to the league’s drug policy that will now provide for unannounced, random blood testing for the detection of human growth hormone (hGH) beginning with the upcoming season. In a landmark agreement, MLB players began hGH testing beginning with Spring Training in 2012, and all players were subject to hGH blood testing for reasonable cause at all times during the year. During the 2012-2013 off-season, players have already been subject to random unannounced testing for hGH.

Since July of 2010, Major League Baseball has conducted random blood testing for the detection of hGH among Minor League players.

SEE THE ALL-TIME DRUG SUSPENSION LIST FOR MLB AND MiLB PLAYERS

To add, the league and union for the players addressed elevated testosterone. The sides have agreed to establish a longitudinal profile program, in which a player's baseline Testosterone/Epitestosterone (T/E) ratio and other data will be maintained by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited Montreal Laboratory currently employed by MLB and the MLBPA. Using Carbon Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) analysis on all specimens that vary materially from a player's baseline values, each player will now have a unique profile. In the past, players had looked to skirt the edges of a 4:1 T/E ratio. Now, a player will be evaluated based on their unique baseline. To add further disincentive to use testosterone as a performance-enhancer there will be an increase in the number of random IRMS analysis the league and union’s lab conducts on specimens.

Last season, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and Yasmani Grandal all tested positive for elevated testosterone, while Eliezer Alfonzo was able to have a 100 game suspension rescinded. In the case of Alfonzo, he raised issues that were nearly identical to those resolved in the arbitration involving Brewer, and NL MVP Ryan Braun where chain of custody of test samples were challenged. That loophole has since been closed.

Of the changes to the drug policy Commissioner Selig said, “This agreement addresses critical drug issues and symbolizes Major League Baseball’s continued vigilance against synthetic human growth hormone, Testosterone and other performance-enhancing substances.  I am proud that our system allows us to adapt to the many evolving issues associated with the science and technology of drug testing.  We will continue to do everything we can to maintain a leadership stature in anti-doping efforts in the years ahead.”

MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner added in a statement that, “the Players are determined to do all they can to continually improve the sport’s Joint Drug Agreement. Players want a program that is tough, scientifically accurate, backed by the latest proven scientific methods, and fair; I believe these changes firmly support the Players’ desires while protecting their legal rights.”

Christiane Ayotte, the Director of the Montreal Laboratory where testing will be conducted said, “Although the Montreal Laboratory has made extensive use of IRMS in the past, the addition of random blood testing and a longitudinal profiling program makes Baseball’s program second to none in detecting and deterring the use of synthetic hGH and Testosterone.  A drug testing program that follows over a thousand steroid profiles and tests over a thousand blood specimens each year compares favorably with any WADA program.”

Major League Baseball became the first pro sports league to implement hGH testing. The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to hGH testing prior to MLB as part of their latest labor agreement but have not yet been able to implement the program.

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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Revenue-Sharing for 2012 Approx. $400 Million PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 21 December 2012 11:58

MLBWhen the figure came out that MLB’s league-wide revenues were approx. $7.5 billion for 2012, a question that came up afterwards was, “How much was revenue-sharing, and how much did each club getting revenue-sharing receive?” The latter may never be known (for those wondering, the last time that figures came out in the media was 2002 and 2003, which can be see here), but the total figure, is.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the figure, the amount of revenue-sharing that funneled from the haves to the have-nots in MLB this year was approx. $400 million. While the money is not distributed evenly across the clubs, if the 15 lowest revenue-makers were given an equal portion it would equal approx. $27 million for each of those clubs.

The amount of revenue-sharing in Major League Baseball should stymie any talk that clubs can’t—at the very least—be able to compete selectively in the free agency space from time to time. It also affords club opportunity to wrap up talent on their rosters to avoid them leaving once they hit free agency. While it’s clear that the amount of revenue-sharing they received this year is not enough to cover the entire amount, the Rays likely covered a lot of the annual salary increase needed to ink Evan Longoria to his $100 million extension with revenue-sharing proceeds. That’s the purpose of revenue-sharing.

Finally, there's this to consider. With the skyrocketing growth of regional sports network revenues, plus the continued robust nature of baseball as an entertainment option, it seems that in the very near future we'll see revenue-sharing in MLB surpass a half-a-billion dollars. With it, let's hope clubs are using the gifted money from their large revenue-making brethren wisely.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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After Adjustments, Yankees 2012 Luxury Tax Bill Exceeds $19.3 Million PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 15:21

Adjusted numbers released today for the New York Yankees end of year payrolls just made their wallet hurt that much more. Late last week the Yankees were said to have been hit with a Luxury Tax bill of $18,917,994 on an end of year player payroll of $222,512,928.

SEE ALL-TIME MLB LUXURY TAX DATA

But, today, after accounting adjustments, that player payroll figure that accounts for the 40-man roster and other costs, increased to $223,302,212 and with it, so increased their Luxury Tax bill to $19,311,642. All told, the Yankees have paid $224,558,161 or 91.44% of the total $245,568,176 paid since 2003.

The $224,558,161 end of year payroll for the Yankees is the highest since 2009 when it was $226,222,933. It is the second-highest in the last decade.

The Bronx Bombers paid $13,896,069 in Luxury Tax payments last year on EOY player payroll of $212,740,172. The reason that the penalty is higher this year in comparison to the player payroll is a higher tax rate of 42.5 percent for breaking the Luxury Tax threshold consecutively. Since this Luxury Tax system was put in place in 2002, the Yankees have broken the ceiling every year it’s been in place. Below is a breakdown:

Yankeess

Year

Payroll

Tax

Tax Rate

2012

$223,439,158

$19,311,642

42.5

2011

$212,740,172

$13,896,069

40

2010

$215,074,134

$18,029,654

40

2009

$226,222,933

$25,689,173

40

2008

$222,156,756

$26,862,702

40

2007

$207,703,464

$23,881,386

40

2006

$201,522,596

$26,009,039

40

2005

$213,134,467

$34,053,787

40

2004

$203,921,174

$25,026,352

30

2003

$184,419,181

$11,798,357

17.5

TOTALS

$2,110,334,035

$224,558,161

 

Data by way of The Associated Press. Figures based on payrolls for the 40-man rosters and include averages of multiyear contracts plus a 1-30th of Major League Baseball's costs of health and pension benefits; clubs medical costs; insurance; workman's compensation, payroll, unemployment and Social Security taxes; spring training allowances; meal and tip money; All-Star game expenses; travel and moving expenses; postseason pay; and college scholarships.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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MLB Revenues $7.5B for 2012, Could Approach $9B by 2014 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 10 December 2012 00:00

MLBWith local broadcast money and attendance for the league remaining strong, according to sources after two years of seeing revenues relatively flat at $7 billion, Major League Baseball will see revenues of $7.5 billion for 2012. To place this in perspective, when accounting for inflation, baseball’s revenues have increased 257 percent since 1995 when they were $1.4 billion.

And while the number is impressive, it’s just the beginning of what will likely be one of—if not the—largest spike in revenue growth in league history. That’s because starting in 2014 the new national broadcast deals with FOX, ESPN, and TBS kick in which will add an additional $788.3 million a year. That means if MLB’s revenues remained static, league revenues for 2014 would exceed $8.4 billion. That, of course, isn’t going to happen. Revenues will get a further hefty bounce when the Dodgers finalize their broadcast deal which is reportedly worth $6-$7 billion. Depending on when that kicks in, it’s very possible that MLB could flirt with, or surpass, the $9 billion gross revenue plateau in a couple of years.

Here’s MLB revenues from 1995 to the present

MLB revenues
Click to see full view

Source: Major League Baseball, Biz of Baseball research


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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From the Winter Meetings: The Official Player Transaction Summary PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 20:20

Baseball Winter Meetings

Pack it up, and head ‘em out. The halls of Opryland in Nashville are clearing out as the 2012 Baseball Winter Meetings have officially come to an end. With it, there were a number of player transactions that were rumored, done in principle, or are just waiting to be fully announced. As to what MLB and the MLBPA declare as official, the following is the transaction summary for each day of the meetings from the league. Note that contract length and dollars based on Biz of Baseball research and does not come from MLB or the MLBPA.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 3RD

New York Yankees – Claimed C Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4TH

Boston Red Sox – Signed free agent OF Jonny Gomes to a reported 2-year, $10 million deal that pays $5 million each year of the contract

Colorado Rockies – Acquired RHP Wilton Lopez from the Houston Astros in exchange for RHP Alex Gillingham and RHP Alex White.

Tampa Bay Rays – Acquired SS Yunel Escobar from the Miami Marlins in exchange for SS Derek Dietrich.

San Diego Padres – Signed free agent RHP Jason Marquis to a reported 1-year, $3 million deal.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH

Detroit Tigers – Acquired C Ramon Cabrera from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for LHP Andrew Oliver.

Source: Major League Baseball, Biz of Baseball research


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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From the Winter Meetings: A Rawlings Briefcase Made of Glove Leather PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 18:05

Baseball fans all agree: the smell of a glove is a glorious thing. Problem is, you can’t really take a glove around with you to meetings at the office. Rawlings has come up with the solution with this ever so cool briefcase made from (you guessed it), glove leather. Everything is made from the same materials that Rawlings uses in their gloves and that makes sense as each of them are manufactured in same factory Rawlings makes baseball gloves in. So, you think you want one? Cost according to a rep at the Winter Meetings Trade Show is $450.

Rawlings Briefcase

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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From the Winter Meetings: The Next-Gen Baseball Glove with No Leather and a $600-$800 Pricetag PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 20:59

Reporting from the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville....

The glove. It’s personal. It’s important. For players at the highest levels of the game, they’ll tell you it’s an extension of their hand that is cherished and protected as if it was their child. While designs have changed, the materials haven’t deviated too far from the tried and true of leather.

But, at the Baseball Winter Meetings, I was introduced to something that could be the next generation of glove. It has no leather, but instead the key surface materials are made of nylon microfiber giving the glove a near suede look and feel while being light. And because it’s not leather, the glove retains its form without “pancaking” over time as the glove ages and breaks in. To top it off, a custom mold of your hand is used that creates a seamless fit when closing it.

You know you want it. You have to try it. But, if you do, better bust out the wallet. Cost of this next generation of glove manufactured by Carpenter Trade Company is between $600 and $800. Check out more details at CarpenterTrade.com

Carpenter Glove

Source: Carpernter Trade Co.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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From the Winter Meetings: The New Era Miami Marlins Tuque PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 03 December 2012 21:26

Nashville - It’s hard to imagine it being so cold in Miami for the few diehard Marlins fans out there to want skiwear fashion, but the folks at New Era caps have created such a thing. Fresh for the Fall product line, New Era is offering, yes… a Miami Marlins tuque. Get off, you hoser Jeffery Loria!!!

Marlins Tuque

Maury Brown will be reporting daily from the Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville for The Biz of Baseball, Baseball Prospectus, and Forbes.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

Follow Maury Brown on Twitter Twitter

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Manny Ramirez Tests Positive For Testosterone, TUES Up from Last Year PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 01 December 2012 14:33

Drug Testing Report

An annual report released as part of Major League Baseball’s drug program shows that of 5,136 tests for performance-enhancing drugs and stimulants, a total of 18 tested positive, or less than 1 percent (0.35%) during the 2012 season. While 18 players tested positive for banned substances, not all served suspensions as a first offense for stimulants only results in follow-up testing. Only at the time of second violation does game suspension occur with that resulting in 25 games. Two players served suspensions for stimulants as part of this past season’s testing. Baltimore Orioles shortstop Ryan Adams, who at the time was on the roster of the Triple-A Norfolk Tides was suspended on Nov. 2, and just this past Tuesday, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz joined him. Both players will see their suspensions served beginning next season.

There were a total of 7 positive tests for performance-enhancing substances that resulted in discipline, with four accounting for testosterone that resulted in 50 game suspension. Three were announced suspensions during the course of the year (San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal; Oakland Athletics pitcher Bartolo Colon, and; San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera), but the fourth was not announced. That now appears to be Manny Ramirez who retired in early 2011 to avoid a 100-game suspension for a second violation of the drug policy. After sitting out the entire 2011 season, a deal was reached with MLB and the MLBPA to allow his reinstatement and to serve just 50 games rather than 100 after signing with the Athletics.

In terms of  the other three PED violations that resulted in discipline, they were one for Clostebol (Philadelphia Phillies infielder Freddy Galvis, 50 games), one for Tamoxifen (free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd, 50 games), and one for Clenbuterol (San Francisco Giants pitcher Guillermo Mota who received a 100 game suspension for a second PED violation. His first was Nov 1 of 2006 while with the Mets).

As part of the new labor agreement— and a historic first, the league—the sides agreed to and conducted blood testing for human-growth hormone (hGH) this past season. The tests were all conducted during Spring Training, and for 2012, there was no in-season blood draws for testing. Of the 5,136 tests, there were 1,181 blood tests for hGH. The league and union are nearing changes to the policy that could be announced shortly, and with it, it is possible that testing during the regular season could occur as the current labor agreement states that the sides will look into the “possibility of implementing in-season testing.” This will also be the first full offseason in which random offseason testing will occur. The drug policy does not state how many tests for hGH can occur during that time. The drug policy states that the blood draws “will be tested for the presence of hGH only.”

READ THE LATEST MLB/MLBPA DRUG AGREEMENT

Below is a breakdown of what substances resulted in discipline:

Adverse Analytical Findings
Substances
#
Performance Enhancing Substances
7
Clenbuterol 1
Clostebol 1
Tamoxifen 1
Testosterone 4
Stimulants
11
Adderall 10
d-amphetamine 1

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs), which allow a player to use banned substances based upon approved medical needs, totaled 119 in the report, up from 111 last year when there were 105 were for attention deficit disorder, two for hypertension, one for hypogonadism, one for narcolepsy, and two for postconcussion syndrome.

Theraputic Use Exemptions (TUEs)
Exemption
#
Attention Deficit Disorder 116
Hypertension
2
Hypogonadism
1
Total
119

There are other changes that have taken place with this being the first report after the new labor agreement…

  • Gone is Bryan Smith as the independent drug program administrator. He was replaced with Jeffrey M. Anderson.
  • This is the first season in which the exact substance that a player was suspended for was released.
  • Starting with the 2012-2013 off-season, players will be subject to random unannounced testing for hGH.

Source: Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Player's Association


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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