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Milwaukee Brewers star left fielder and 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 season (and playoffs) on Monday afternoon for violating Major League Baseball’s substance policy. Braun is the first of what looks to be the largest group of suspensions handed out by the MLB in the steroid era. About 20 to 25 more Major League and Minor League players are expected to be suspended in the coming days and weeks, one of which is Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
At the center of all this is the Miami-based Biogenesis Clinic formerly ran by Tony Bosch. Click the link below for a little more background on Biogenesis.
Braun’s suspension of 65 games is in between the amount of games that a 1st time offender (50 games) and a 2nd time offender (100 games) would usually receive according to the collective bargaining agreement. In the end, both Ryan Braun and the MLB got what they wanted. Braun will be eligible to come back at the beginning of next season, and Major League Baseball suspended him more than 50 games, and also has a huge chip in their corner since Braun didn’t put up a fight. His refusal to appeal or go to arbitration gives Tony Bosch and the Biogenesis Clinic credibility, and makes it harder for the players union to unite and deny any and all accusations.
Besides Braun, the other most prominent name on the list is that of Alex Rodriguez. Major League Baseball is expected to pursue his case extremely hard. In fact, I’d be surprised if A-Rod played another game in the MLB. At age 38, his body is declining and he’s becoming more of a liability and clubhouse distraction than he is an asset to any team. He was scheduled to return to the Yankees lineup this week, before a new injury popped up.
What Detroiters are most concerned with will obviously be the future of SS Jhonny Peralta. Has Jhonny Peralta ever actually failed a drug test? No. But then again, has Ryan Braun ever “technically” failed a drug test? No, he hasn’t. He got off on a technicality the last time around, even though 99% of us knew he was guilty (the 1% being Packers QB Aaron Rodgers…see Twitter).
Peralta has some big decisions to make regarding his future if he were to be slapped with a 50 game suspension. With about 60 games left, a 50-game suspension without appealing would take up almost the remainder of the season. Would he benefit the team in the postseason after being dead-weight on the bench for a month and a half? If Peralta were to appeal the suspension, he could play out the rest of the season and postseason, but what would the impending fight in court do to his stock as a free agent this winter? He’s been outstanding so far this season, hitting what would be a career high, .305 with 46 RBI. A 50-game ban now would tarnish the great start and All-Star Game appearance he had. Stop me if you’ve heard this story before…
Take for example, Melky Cabrera of the San Francisco Giants last season. Cabrera was on a tear the first half of the year, and leading the league in batting average. He was the MVP at the All-Star Game in Kansas City, and was a big part in why the National League had home field advantage in the World Series. Later in August, he failed a drug test and was suspended 50 games. He admitted to using testosterone and decided not to appeal his suspension. Even though he was eligible to return, the Giants left him off their playoff roster, and went on to win the World Series without their first half All-Star. He signed as a free-agent for $8 million in Toronto.
Is Jhonny Peralta likely to fall into a similar fate as Melky Cabrera? Not necessarily. Detroit isn’t deep at any infield position, so losing Peralta for any length of time will be a big loss.
Either way you look at it, baseball is doing the right thing to clean up the game. Ryan Braun is a liar, cheater, and a fraud. He’s hurt many people in the baseball community from executives, to fans, players and the media. He’s tarnished his reputation for good. He’s wiped away any shot at the Hall of Fame. And he’s only the beginning.