According to published reports, Major League Baseball is on the verge of handing down suspensions of at least 20 players in connection with the Biogenesis scandal — a story that will rock the sport and possibly cause mass chaos in Fantasy leagues.
Tony Bosch, founder of the Florida lab, has reportedly agree to cooperate with baseball’s investigation and had given the names of players to the sport’s officials. It is possible to MLB to suspend a player without a positive drug test, in what’s called a “non-analytic positive.” But there needs to be considerable evidence the player used or tried to use a banned substance. Although purchasing a banned substance passes the “common sense” measure of most people, the legal questions will be much thornier.
Among the big names on the hook for 50- or 100-game suspensions in connection with Biogenesis are Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Alex Rodriguez, Yasmani Grandal and Everth Cabrera.
If you own the above players you should be worried about them missing time later this year, but you shouldn’t panic just yet. The players will appeal the suspensions and MLB will need proof that the players used the banned substances – a standard that is not easy to meet. Also, the players’ union could go to court to hold up the suspensions. This will be an unprecedented action by a major league sport and if they take that action without proof of use of the substances, it’s a ready-made court case for future precedent.
If you own Ryan Braun, though, you better trade for power and grab a couple of outfielders off the waiver wire, just to be safe. MLB could act quickly to move this process ahead, so there is a legitimate chance the players involved could be in danger of missing time later in the 2012 season.
Here’s how you need to greet this news in your Fantasy league:
• Find back-ups and potential replacements for any name that comes up within this story. MLB will move aggressively to suspend them for at least 50 games, so make a Plan B right away. Like I said, I would not expect any player to miss time in the shorter term, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
• Do NOT sucker a team in a stupid trade tonight or tomorrow. If you have Melky Cabrera, don’t fashion a trade designed to screw another owner. He’s on your roster and it’s the luck of the draw. Take your medicine and deal with it.
• Do find the teams that own those players and help them craft their own Plan B. Do not taunt them, gloat, or act like you are the savior. Put a deal together that allows them to plan for losing their player for a while.
• Research the prospects on the teams that may lose star players. Maybe a suspension will start the career of a top prospect. Who is the likely replacement – is it a prospect or is he already on the team’s 25-man roster.
• Go pour yourself a scotch, drink it slowly and calm your nerves. It’s just a game and even if these suspensions could ruin your entire season, there is always next year, and Fantasy Football is right around the corner.
Scott Engel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Associated Press.