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Union concludes Cabrera's agents unaware of scheme

Union concludes Cabrera's agents unaware of scheme

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) The baseball players' union concluded Melky Cabrera's agents didn't know about a scheme to create a phony website in a defense of his positive drug test but said they failed to properly manage the employees of the firm who tried to carry out the scheme.

Brothers Sam and Seth Levinson, the heads of ACES Inc., were probed by the Major League Baseball Players Association after MLB's investigations department discovered the attempt to concoct evidence. Cabrera, the San Francisco Giants outfielder who was the MVP of the All-Star game, was suspended 50 games in August after testing positive for testosterone.

``After a thorough investigation, we concluded none of the ACES principals were involved in or had knowledge of the Cabrera scheme,'' union head Michael Weiner said Tuesday from Los Angeles, where he was attending agents' meetings. ``We also concluded there was an issue with supervision of employees.''

Weiner said action had been taken against the Levinsons, but would not be more specific, and said ACES remains eligible to represent all players.

`We are pleased to have been cleared of wrongdoing by the players' association after its thorough investigation, and we greatly appreciate the support we received from our players,'' Seth Levinson said in a statement.

The union, whose conclusions were first reported by Yahoo!, denied the application for limited agent certification of Juan Nunez, whom ACES said was a consultant. Nunez took responsibility for fabricating a website that Cabrera was intending to rely on in the union's grievance to overturn the suspension.

Union general counsel Dave Prouty said Nunez was indefinitely barred from certification as an agent of any kind. Limited certification allows agents to deal with players but does not permit them to negotiate with teams.

The union also turned down the application for limited certification by Juan Nunez's brother, Tirzon Nunez, but that denial was made without any restriction on reapplication for any type of certification, Prouty said.

Prouty said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Tirzon Nunez, but that he violated agent regulations by failing to cooperate with the union's investigation.

MLB banned Juan Nunez from clubhouses after he admitted the scheme. Nunez bought a website and attempted to alter it in a manner that would allow Cabrera to claim the positive test was caused by a substance obtained through the website.

``For 27 years we have represented our clients with honesty and integrity and we will continue to aggressively assert and protect the rights and interests of our players,'' Seth Levinson said.

In addition, the players' association concluded it will not investigate accusations by former big league catcher Paul LoDuca that the Levinsons and ACES helped him acquire performance-enhancing drugs from former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski and that the Levinsons and ACES reimbursed Radomski for PEDs.

The Levinsons last represented LoDuca in 2006 and ACES filed a grievance in May against LoDuca over fees the company claims it is owed.

``Mr. LoDuca is fabricating this story as some measure of revenge for the filing of a fee grievance,'' Jay Reisinger, a lawyer for ACES, said in a statement.

Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, the union has the power to certify player agents. The events involved in the website are part of ongoing investigations by MLB.

Since the scheme was uncovered, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, Nyjer Morgan and Everth Cabrera have switched from ACES to other agencies.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler