Jeff Passan

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Jeff Passan is an award-winning columnist who has covered baseball since 2004. He graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in journalism. He is the co-author of the book "Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series," which following five printings of the first edition was re-released in a second, updated edition in October.

  • MLB players' union hires lawyer to probe agent conduct during Biogenesis scandal

    A lawyer who helped the Senate investigate the Watergate scandal has been hired by the Major League Baseball Players Association to examine agent conduct during the Biogenesis scandal, the first move in what could be a sweeping effort to clean up a business that in recent years has devolved into a morass of client stealing and alleged involvement with clients' performance-enhancing drug use, major league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    Robert Muse, a partner in a firm that represented Monica Lewinsky and other high-profile figures in Washington, D.C., has spearheaded an investigation into agent matters since being retained by the MLBPA at the beginning of the year, sources told Yahoo Sports. Granted far-reaching investigative privileges by the union, Muse has focused on the involvement of the ACES agency, CAA agent Nez Balelo – who represents Ryan Braun – and Relativity Baseball in Biogenesis while continuing to branch out into other areas of the agent business, sources said.

    "When it comes

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  • Sources: Alfredo Aceves suspended 50 games after positive drug test

    Former Yankees and Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves was suspended 50 games after a drug test came back positive for a so-called drug of abuse, major league sources told Yahoo Sports.

    The 31-year-old Aceves, currently pitching for Yankees Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, spent parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, including 10 games this year in which he posted a 6.52 ERA and allowed six home runs in 19 1/3 innings.

    For his career, Aceves is 31-16 with a 3.83 ERA. He won World Series rings with the Yankees in 2009 and the Red Sox in 2013.

    Major League Baseball is expected to announce the suspension Thursday.

  • No one wins in revelation that MLB granted A-Rod permission to use PEDs

    Seven years ago, Major League Baseball granted Alex Rodriguez permission to use synthetic testosterone. Because of course it did. As if the story that included robberies, hidden cameras, hush-hush payments, inappropriate sex, copious drug use, high-powered lawyers, leaks and pretty much every other imaginable slice of drama better fit for a fictitious TV show than real life weren't enough, now comes the revelation that baseball laid down its longest suspension in history for the very same thing it approved less than a decade earlier.

    An excerpt on Sports Illustrated's website from "Blood Sport," the soon-to-be-released book about the Biogenesis case, provided this juicy nugget from transcripts of Rodriguez's case against MLB on Wednesday morning and added a twist to an already-warped relationship between the parties. The league's pursuit of Rodriguez that led to his eventual 162-game suspension perpetually toed the line between warranted and overly personal – and, on occasion, crossed

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  • Loophole offers potential path for some minor league players to smoke way onto major league rosters

    Inside a minor league clubhouse this year, a player who had tested positive for marijuana a second time informed teammates of the 50-game suspension he would serve because of it. The player wasn't concerned, according to a witness. He didn't plan on curtailing his marijuana use, either.

    "I'll just smoke my way onto the 40-man," he said.

    In the annals of drug use, this might be a first: an employee trying to get a promotion by getting high.

    The scenario suggested by the player, whose identity Yahoo Sports agreed to conceal to protect him from further potential discipline, shows the chasm between the reasonable drug policy for major league players on a team's 40-man roster and the harsh rules for minor leaguers that have yet to change with a culture becoming more and more accepting of marijuana. If a player shows major league potential and a team wants to shelter him from a 100-game suspension for a third offense or lifetime ban for a fourth, it simply needs to place him on the 40-man

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  • Leaked documents shed light on Houston Astros' trade tactics

    Dozens of trade offers from the Houston Astros were leaked to an anonymous sharing website Saturday, providing insight into how the rebuilding team operated near last season’s trade deadline as well as this offseason. Multiple executives whose names were included in the trade talks confirmed the authenticity of the documents to Yahoo Sports.

    The two sets of documents, posted to Anonbin and first reported Monday by Deadspin, purportedly come from the team’s Ground Control database, a proprietary system central to the Astros’ baseball-operations department. One centers on proposals for pitcher Bud Norris, whom the Astros eventually traded to the Orioles, and the other on a hodgepodge of potential trades between October 2013 and March 2014.

    Most of the notes are two- or three-sentence updates written in shorthand – usually with executives’ names shortened to initials. The two most common are JL and DS – Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and assistant GM David Stearns – and they go

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  • 10 Degrees: Handing out MLB's first-half awards

    Most teams passed the halfway mark of the season over the weekend, which means it's time for first-half awards. Let's dig in to the good stuff, starting with the easiest award to bestow, the …

    1. American League MVP. Unlike the last two full-season awards, both of which have gone to Miguel Cabrera when they should have been someone else's, the first-half MVP of 2014 is a runaway.

    1. Mike Trout
    2. Jose Bautista
    3. Victor Martinez
    4. Felix Hernandez
    5. Masahiro Tanaka
    6. Edwin Encarnacion
    7. Jose Abreu
    8. Nelson Cruz
    9. Michael Brantley
    10. Miguel Cabrera

    At this juncture, it is fair to say no rational baseball fan believes anybody other than Trout is the best player in the world. The argument on behalf of Cabrera's MVP candidacy always centered on extraneous factors (the success of his team), narrative silliness (Triple Crown = MVP) and expert straw-grasping (he changed positions, thus helping the Tigers). Cabrera always was an incredible player; he just wasn't the best, and value

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  • Tim Lincecum's no-hitter shows his very best is still better than most

    He's growing his hair out again. Most people haven't noticed because the unfortunate caterpillar on Tim Lincecum's upper lip steals the attention away from what's atop his head, or because the very idea of seeing an athlete through the lens of image is more football and basketball's style. It's one of the countless things that made Lincecum unique among baseball players. Everyone gravitated to how he looks because it's so ... different.

    When he cut his hair during the offseason, it was part of a reinvention. The stuff that emanated from Lincecum's right arm wasn't all that different anymore, and the quality of it matters far more than the distinctiveness of his delivery and body size, so he was changing to compensate – growing and maturing, with an adult haircut instead of the long locks and a mustache because why the hell not.

    Tim Lincecum throws a first-inning pitch against the Padres. (AP)Tim Lincecum throws a first-inning pitch against the Padres. (AP)Deep down, of course, Lincecum understood that no image could bely the most inimitable part of him: his experience. The doubts, the laughs, the tweaks, the

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  • Giants' Tim Lincecum tosses second career no-hitter

    The demise of Tim Lincecum, rumored for years, whispered incessantly and presumed imminent, is on hold again. He threw another no-hitter Wednesday, and it was even better than the one he twirled last year.

    In front of a raucous home crowd in San Francisco, with a breezy demeanor rarely, if ever, seen from starting pitchers during such historic events, Lincecum blew away the awful San Diego Padres with a masterful – and efficient – performance in a 4-0 victory.

    Rarely topping 90 mph with his fastball, and far from the phenom who won two Cy Young Awards with the San Francisco Giants, Lincecum nonetheless conjured the sort of excellence that remains within. He walked one and struck out six, needing just 113 pitches, compared to his four-walk, 13-strikeout, 148-pitch no-no against the Padres on July 13, 2013.

    Entering the game, the 30-year-old Lincecum was 5-5 with a 4.90 ERA. (AP Photo)Entering the game, the 30-year-old Lincecum was 5-5 with a 4.90 ERA. (AP Photo)Like his last one, the Giants mobbed Lincecum on the mound afterward, thrilled that their teammate who helped lead the franchise to two World Series was again experiencing the joy

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  • Coming off a no-hitter, Clayton Kershaw tossed eight innings of shutout baseball. (Getty Images) Coming off a no-hitter, Clayton Kershaw tossed eight innings of shutout baseball. (Getty Images)

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Albert Pujols got the first and Gerardo Parra the most recent. In between them, 359 players combined for 945 more of baseball's great treasure: a hit off Clayton Kershaw. It's a keepsake, a memento for conversations decades from now, when the baseball world glances back at the beginning of Kershaw's career and recognizes how truly remarkable it was.

    He's in the midst of his seventh season, and even after three straight National League ERA titles, a pair of Cy Young Awards and the seven-year, $215 million contract, the 26-year-old Kershaw won't stop getting better. Only in the official box score was his no-hit, no-walk, 15-strikeout masterpiece last week against the Colorado Rockies not perfection. Hanley Ramirez's error couldn't soil the sense of a master craftsman at his apex, swing after feeble swing telling Kershaw's story far better than words, numbers or pictures possibly could.

    All they wanted was a measly hit – a dribbler down the third-base line, an

    Read More »from What it's like to face Clayton Kershaw: K.C.'s Billy Butler details one unfortunate at-bat vs. MLB's best pitcher
  • Eric Hosmer puts in work for the Royals' defense. (AP) Eric Hosmer puts in work for the Royals' defense. (AP)

    KANSAS CITY – They don't forget here. Sporting disappointment turns memories long, and however many more years Zack Greinke pitches, here he will be a traitor, fair or not. He owns the worst quality possible for someone in an untenable situation: honesty. And even though his sentiment echoed that of every person who has spent almost 30 years waiting for the Kansas City Royals to play in a postseason game – tired of waiting – their truth is different than his. Fandom is eternal. Careers are finite.

    What Greinke couldn't have known when he told the Royals to trade him in 2010 was the butterfly effect his deal would have on the franchise he forsook. Greinke is in a different place now, a better place, more than $150 million richer and playing for the most expensive team in sports history. The Royals, too, are in a different place, a better place, and for that they have the turncoat to thank. Royals fans weren't hospitable after Zack Greinke exited Monday's ballgame in Kansas City. (Getty Images) Royals fans weren't hospitable after Zack Greinke exited Monday's ballgame in Kansas City. (Getty Images)

    Among the 11 hits and five runs the Royals hung on Greinke in a 5-3 victory against his Los

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