A-Rod's "Bribe" Of Tony Bosch Doesn't Look Much Like A Bribe

Among the many claims made against Alex Rodriguez in a one-sided 60 Minutes segment was that Rodriguez had attempted to pay off Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch when Bosch decided to cooperate with MLB's investigation. The CBS broadcast presented it as fact, and MLB COO Rob Manfred outright called it a bribe. Well, here's some pretty convincing evidence—evidence that both MLB and 60 Minutes had but didn't mention—that there was no bribe.

According to Bosch, his attorney received an unsolicited wire transfer for $50,000 on April 8. When asked if MLB considered that a bribe, Manfred told 60 Minutes, "I do."

New York Magazine has examined emails and bills, and comes to the conclusion that the payment was not an attempt to keep Bosch silent, but a clerical error.

On April 2, Rodriguez's attorney sent A-Rod a bill for $49,901.51 for work conducted on his behalf. Then, six days later, a transfer was made to Bosch's attorney for that exact same amount.

According to e-mails examined by New York, Rodriguez's business staff confused the wiring information and accidentally sent the payment to Ribero-Ayala on April 8.

[...]

On April 9, 2013, Rodriguez realized that the second payment was in error, according to the e-mail chain, and Ribero-Ayala returned the money, which was then transferred to Black's law firm's account.

$49,901.51 would be an oddly specific figure for a bribe, especially since Rodriguez had previously sent a nice, round $25,000 transfer to Bosch to pay his legal fees. (Rodriguez's camp admits the $25,000 payment, made when Bosch was denying any connection with A-Rod. The supposed "bribe" came after Bosch switched sides—after MLB had agreed to cover Bosch's legal fees and drop a lawsuit against him.)

It's odd that 60 Minutes would present the "bribe" as fact, when they had the exact same documents New York used to shoot the claim down. (It's not clear if Rodriguez lawyer Joe Tacopina, who appeared on the show, refuted the allegation or not, but no denial was aired.)

It's odder still that Rob Manfred would continue to make the claim—MLB too, was provided the evidence that indicated the bribe was a billing error. Arbitrator Frederic Horowitz made no mention of the bribe in his judgment against Rodriguez, meaning not only was Manfred's statement an unproven opinion, but MLB had already won without citing it. The only possible reason for Manfred and CBS to raise the questionable claim was to make Rodriguez look like a thug and produce more compelling television.

Did Alex Rodriguez Really Try to Pay a $49,901.51 Bribe to Tony Bosch? [NY Mag]