T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN are reporting that the MLB is set to suspend a number of players connected to the BioGenesis clinic, headlined by Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. The suspensions are set to take place post-AS Break. Braun has become vilified in the media because of his attitude towards this whole investigation, and the article highlights the fact that he refused to answer any questions that MLB asked him. Granted, I’m fairly certain that nobody will consent to answering anything that could incriminate them further.
The discussion centers around how many games the suspension will be for — as the word is the suspension being thrown around for Braun and Rodriguez is 100 games. This is the suspension for a second-time offender, but MLB will be arguing that they lied about their usage and were basically afforded two chances. Most other players are expected to get 50 games. The suspensions are looking like a certainty at this point.
My primary concern with this case is not with any of the two names above — but rather with one of our own, Cesar Puello. As someone who covers the minors on a daily basis, I’m tired of this dark cloud that hangs over Puello right now. The BioGenesis clinic was shut down already and as someone who was under suspicion, I think it’s safe to assume he’s had to deal with frequent tests. I truly believe the results of the 2013 season have been due to his hard work — and John Bernhardt, one of my colleagues who is frequently at the Binghamton games, would agree with me. Puello has always had the tools to succeed and he’s finally turning potential into performance. If he is to be suspended, so be it, and I look forward to writing about him again next season.
That being said, I know this isn’t my place to say, but I’m very disappointed in the way that MLB is handling this situation. I don’t view it as mere coincidence that they are waiting until after the All-Star weekend to suspend the players. If you can make your case now and the suspensions are basically set in stone, why not do it today? The answer, in my mind, is money. If you really wanted to send a message, take the hit and suspend them now — don’t trot them out there for the sake of money and then suspend them after. That being said, if MLB cannot make their full case today or there are other factors involved, then I would take back my criticism. But based on what I’m hearing, this whole scandal could be another black mark for baseball.