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Thursday, October 30, 2014

100-game suspensions for A-Rod and Ryan Braun? MLB is on a rampage

Ryan BraunMLB is looking to suspend around 20 players for their alleged involvement with Biogenesis, a now-defunct anti-aging clinic run by quack Tony Bosch that allegedly doubled as a supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to several athletes, ESPN reports.

The most jaw-dropping item in the ESPN “Outside the Lines” report is that MLB might seek 100-game suspensions for former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, which is the penalty for a second doping offense. According to ESPN, MLB will consider the players’ connection to Bosch a first offense, and the players denying involvement with Biogenesis in statements to MLB a second offense.

ESPN says Bosch is broke, living with friends and/or family, and fearful of facing charges from the federal government. Though in the past Bosch denied association with athletes, he reportedly is now prepared to talk to MLB because he supposedly believes cooperating with them is his only option. MLB would also be cutting him a sweet deal.

ESPN states in its report:

In exchange for Bosch’s full cooperation, sources said, Major League Baseball will drop the lawsuit it filed against Bosch in March, indemnify him for any liability arising from his cooperation, provide personal security for him and even put in a good word with any law enforcement agency that might bring charges against him.

MLB is also looking for cooperation from two other former Bosch employees so that they would have more documented statements and evidence against the players involved with the clinic.

Currently, ESPN has the names of 15 players who may face suspension. They say about 20 could face suspension. It’s possibly that the remaining players appear in Bosch’s notes under code names.

Based on the names of players we have, the teams who would be hit hardest by the potential suspensions include:

    - Tigers (31-25, 1st in AL Central) – SS Jhonny Peralta batting .338 with 6 HRs
    – Rangers (35-22, 1st in AL West) – OF Nelson Cruz batting .268 with 14 HRs
    – Oakland A’s (35-25, 2nd in AL West) – SP Bartolo Colon 6-2 with a 3.33 ERA
    – Brewers (22-35, 5th in NL Central) – OF Ryan Braun batting .292 with 9 HRs
    – Padres (26-32, 4th in NL West) – SS Everth Cabrera batting .278 with 24 SBs
    – Blue Jays (24-34, 5th in AL East) – OF Melky Cabrera batting .282 with 11 doubles

I do have some serious questions about what MLB plans to do. Some of the players mentioned in connection with Biogenesis already failed drug tests and have been suspended by MLB. But what about the others who passed their drug tests? The league would need some seriously strong proof from Bosch — including documentation and corroboration from other people involved — that the players received banned substances in order for this to hold up. I also think the MLBPA would easily be able to fight a 100-game suspension and successfully have it reduced. A 50-game suspension for proof that a player received banned substances from Biogenesis makes sense, but an additional 50 for initially denying involvement to MLB seems like it would be difficult to enforce.

I know there are those who are upset about this and view sports as entertainment and therefore do not care whether players use PEDs. I also know there are fans who don’t want their favorite players or players on their favorite team suspended. But I have always fallen on the other side of this debate and am strongly anti-PEDs. I fully support MLB’s effort to go after the players and try to suspend them. However, I think suspensions would only be fair if they have documentation, strong evidence, and multiple statements supporting their cases against the players.



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