Melky Cabrera’s career year has turned into a giant Melky mess.
San Francisco’s All-Star Game MVP was suspended 50 games last week for testing positive for a banned substance. And now it appears one of Cabrera’s associates launched a fake Web site designed to help Cabrera avoid punishment for the elevated levels of testosterone his test revealed.
When Cabrera test results came back positive in July, his representatives attempted to explain the spike in his testosterone levels by hiring a “paid consultant” to acquire a Web site advertising a fake sports cream, as reported by the New York Daily News. Cabrera planned to claim he’d used the cream not knowing that it contained a banned substance. Both Major League Baseball and Food & Drug Administration criminal investigative agent Jeff Novitzky are reportedly investigating the situation.
The league used a team of six-to-seven investigators to uncover the plot, according to an Associate Press report citing a source close to the probe. Cabrera is unlikely to face further discipline, according to the report.
Sam and Seth Levinson of ACES sports management company represent Cabrera told the Daily New that Juan Nunez, the man who purchased the existing Web site, was a consultant of their agency.
“The MLBPA has clearly stated that ACES has no connection to the Web site or this matter and, as reported, Juan Nunez has taken full responsibility for his acts,” Seth Levison to the AP. “There is nothing more we can add and we will allow our representation in the industry for 27 yeras to speak for itself.”
In February, NL MVP Ryan Braun became the first player to successfully challenge a positive test. But Cabrera’s case is the first of its kind, and could lead to a federal investigation.
As San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami puts it, Cabrera is “worse than guilty. And he’s worse than a deceiver. He’s a failed, guilty deceiver. How can anybody believe anything Cabrera says, or does, ever again?”
Cabrera, who was second in the National League in batting with a .346 average — his previous career best was .305 in 2011 — is one plate appearance short of qualifying for the batting title, but could still finish first should current leader Andrew McCutchen (.354) falter. According to MLB rules, Cabrera would have hitless at-bats added to his total until he reaches the minimum 502 plate appearances. In Cabrera’s case, that single at-bat would have no impact on his average.
Of course, Bud Selig could always eliminate any potential controversy by declaring a proven banned substance user ineligible for the crown. But when has baseball ever shied away from a little controversy?