Major League Baseball fans became aware of a Biogenesis Scandal in the offseason, with big names such as Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and Nelson Cruz among the list of players cited for using performance enhancing drugs, and immediately knew the MLB was going to come down tough on players caught in the scandal.
Well, today the MLB hit the majority of those players with 50-game suspensions; Braun and Rodriguez being the exceptions. Braun had already been suspended for 65 games after agreeing to a deal with the MLB and Rodriguez was hit with a 211 game ban that he will appeal, which will allow him to play until the appeal is heard.
According to MLB, the list also includes: Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Antonio Bastardo, San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, San Diego pitcher Fautino De La Santos, Houston Astros pitcher Sergio Escalona, New York Yankees outfielder Fernando Martinez, Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, free-agent pitcher Jordan Norberto, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, New York Mets outfielder Cesar Puello and Mets outfielder Jordany Valdespin.
Many of the suspended players won’t be hurting anyone but themselves since teams such as the Mets, Padres, and Astros aren’t exactly in the thick of things when it comes to standings. Even though the Tigers lost their starting shortstop, who will immediately be replaced by standout Jose Iglesias, and the Yankees lost multiple players to the scandal, a team with no players on the list may be most affected by the suspensions: The Oakland A’s.
The A’s (64-47) are in a tight race with the Texas Rangers (62-50) for first place. After losing their most recent series to the Rangers, the A’s now have a 2.5 game lead for the American League West. With the Mariners, the third place team of the division, sitting 12 games behind Oakland, it’s pretty much a two-team race.
For Oakland fans the ban still came a few days late. Many who watched the weekend series against the Rangers expressed their displeasure as Cruz, who’s batting .269/.330/.511 on the season, went 2 for 8 at the plate with two home runs and three runs batted in during the series. Cruz is one of the Rangers’ best power hitters with his 27 HRs and 76 RBIs in 108 games being obvious proof. With Cruz agreeing to the 50-game suspension, he could take some momentum away from the Rangers who had gained 3.5 games in the standings last week.
The A’s are also impacted by the suspensions because of a name that was left off of the list: Bartolo Colon.
The A’s 40-year-old starting pitcher is 14-3 on the year with an earned run average of 2.50. Colon has been the leader of the A’s staff this season with a personality that lacks flare but never confidence. Colon’s calm demeanor has been an important facet in helping the A’s young staff this season. Colon is 14 years older than the second oldest starter, Tommy Milone (who was sent to the AAA Sacramento River Cats after a couple lackluster performances, but is expected to be brought back up when the A’s need a fifth starter again next Tuesday), who is 26. A.J. Griffin is 25, followed by Jarrod Parker and Dan Straily, who are both only 24.
Colon was among three players, Toronto Blue Jays’ Melky Cabrera and Padres’ Yasmani Grandal as well, who were suspended in 2012 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. No one was positive the three would be left off the list until a few days ago rumors leaked that there would be no additional suspensions for the players and this morning it was confirmed for good.
With the Rangers losing their veteran bat and the A’s keeping their ace of 2013, it’s clear that the A’s were affected by — and were the only winners of — the Biogenesis Scandal.