So what is MLB to do? Sit idle and let another chapter get written by users or attack the weak link and try to nail any and all players to the wall by their proverbial “rosin bag”?
In the grand scheme of things I believe that MLB is doing what it should do. Preserve the body by cutting off the rotten flesh. If MLB is to ever be a clean sport it has to get in front of this issue once and for all. Despite the testing program and the associated penalties both the perception and reality is that there are still way too many players able to use and avoid detection. While this dogged pursuit will not necessarily result in additional users being detected it will help on the deterant side of the issue. For years we have been hearing from players stating they wanted the sport clean. This past year we heard the players union state that the guilty would not enjoy unquestioned and unconditional support. Then just two months ago the union intimated that the guilty would not be supported at all. Finally it was publicly stated that players being investigated should accept plea deals. Bottom line is that everyone is tired, players included, and are ready to move on.
Personally it was shocking to read that Braun had accepted a 65 game suspension. I had just worked out a deal to acquire him in a trade for Kemp based on the reassurance from various folks that I trust that the appeals process would be long and any suspension would most likely not happen till late next season. Given the magnifying glass he was under last season and the consistent numbers he put up, I felt that I would get comparable production to Kemp this season given their respective injuries and that once healthy and showing it next April I could flip Braun for a modest profit.
Now I sit and realize that from Braun’s perspective this suspension is the best of all scenarios. This is now done. He can get surgery and heal and be 100% healthy and focused for next year. Plus he now might get forgotten in the shuffle as multiple players accept suspensions not to mention the possibility that ARod’s drama so outshines everyone else that no one else matters in the media’s spotlight. Of course the problem is that he publicly and vehemently denied using PEDs and folks are going to remember that ala Rafael Palmeiro. But unlike Palmeiro Braun still has a contract and is owed too much money for him not to be utilized on the field. Of course it still remains to be seen if it is in Milwaukee or if he has to be moved to preserve the clubhouse.
But what about the others? What do we do with them in regards to our fantasy teams? Well, in my opinion, you use them till they are suspended and then drop them. Except for Braun who is legitimately worth keeping? Cruz? Montero? None of the players expected to be suspended have demonstrated a track record worthy of keeping. Several have potential as they have barely started but then again, what are they without the PEDs? I’m sorry to say but come Monday August 5th, I think you can honestly drop them without worrying about any what ifs. Move on and wait to see how things play out next spring before drafting them. The only caveat would of course be if someone totally not mentioned yet was suspended. That naturally would then be the headline even above ARod I would dare say. But I don’t expect that.
In the end I think this will be a huge positive for MLB and for the players in general. It will of course make for storylines in regards to the pennant chase this year but I don’t expect much else. As far as fantasy goes, I don’t see how this will kill any team. Some may have a harder stretch run, but we have had ample time and already know everyone involved. If you haven’t followed Detroit’s example and gotten a replacement player then why are you still reading? Geez. In the leagues I’m in you can see via the waiver wire that everyone is being proactive and preparing for Monday’s announcement(s). The only question left should be will this give Profar an everyday job?