Update - August 5th, 2013 (5:10 pm EST): A-Rod has officially been activated from the DL, and is batting cleanup tonight for the Yankees. Just a little while ago the MLB players association also stated that they don't expect a ruling on A-Rod's appeal until November or December. This means A-Rod could potentially play out the remainder of 2013, and maybe even hold some fantasy value in deeper leagues.
Update - August 5th, 2013 (3:20 pm EST): Just a few minutes ago, MLB announced that Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for 211 games. Just to recap, this is by far the biggest PED suspension ever handed out by MLB - and is larger than all other players suspended today because A-Rod attempted to obstruct MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis clinic. The suspension officially kicks in this Thursday 8/8, and will last through the 2014 season. But A-Rod will also appeal the suspension, and his case will go to an arbitrator within the next few weeks. Ironically enough, A-Rod is also expected to make his 2013 season debut tonight for the Yankees! The A-Rod circus train keeps chugging along, and it should be fun to see if he actually plays this week before the suspension kicks in.
Update - August 5th, 2013 (12:42 pm EST): It's suspension Monday, and MLB has already taken care of most of their Biogenesis business. According to FoxSports.com, 12 different players have accepted their 50-game suspensions including: Jhonny Peralta, Francisco Cervelli, Everth Cabrera, Antonio Bastardo, Jesus Montero, Jordany Valdespin, Cesar Puello, Fautino De Los Santos, Fernando Martinez, Sergio Escalona and Jordan Norberto. If you own any of these players, it's time to cut bait and switch to your backup plan.
We all knew these suspensions were coming, but its still a huge deal. This is by far the biggest crackdown on PEDs in baseball history - and suspending 12 players, at the same time, is unprecedented. What's even more amazing, is that none of these players failed any drug tests. The evidence presented by MLB must have been so strong that these players really had no choice in the matter. The two biggest stories here are Nelson Cruz, and of course Alex Rodriguez. Cruz has been the best hitter on the Rangers in 2013, is in the middle of an AL West pennant race, and will be a free agent after this season. By taking the 50-game suspension now, Cruz is hoping that the penalties won't spill into 2014, and he's betting that he'll still be able to land a big off-season contract. It'll be interesting to see whether he winds up back in Texas or if they cut him loose. And then of course there's the A-Rod saga, as everyone's waiting on the official word from MLB and his suspension. What we do know is this: (1) MLB will hand him a big suspension, possibly a lifetime ban; (2) A-Rod will appeal whatever suspension MLB hands him; and (3) A-Rod is planning to rejoin the Yankees to play his first game of 2013 this evening. Wow, you can't make this stuff up! It's almost feels like A-Rod planned his comeback like this on purpose, to ensure he received the most attention humanly possible.
Everything will soon be made official by MLB, so stay tuned for updates. If you have any specific questions about your fantasy team, you can find us in our live fantasy chat room and on Twitter (@RotoBaller).
Update - August 2nd, 2013: There's been a lot of action with the Biogenesis suspensions the past few days, and we're about to see the fireworks. MLB is expected to hand out suspensions on Monday, and has set a deadline of 6 P.M. Sunday for players to either accept their suspensions or "settle" with MLB. They'll announce two lists of players: the ones who've accepted their suspensions, and the ones who are appealing. Of course the big news here is Alex Rodriguez, and MLB's threat of a "lifetime ban" suspension. Because of his deep involvement with Biogenesis, MLB wants A-Rod to accept a suspension for this year and all of next year. After saying that he'd appeal any suspension, he's now trying to cut a deal. One thing's for sure, it will be interesting to see what happens come Monday. Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Johnny Peralta and others are also involved, so stay tuned. Owners of these players should be thinking about replacement options, or have a backup plan, just in case. It certainly sounds like some of these players will be missing the remainder of 2013.
Update - July 23rd, 2013: Earlier today it was reported that Alex Rodriguez could potentially be facing a lifetime ban from baseball, based on his involvement with the Biogenesis saga. Apparently MLB has far more evidence against A-Rod, significantly more than they had against Braun. More importantly, rumors are that A-Rod "interfered" with MLB's investigation - which elevates his involvement and suspension to a different level. Two things seem pretty obvious to me (and probably most people) at this point: (1) A-Rod will be suspended for longer than 65 games, or the "benchmark" that Braun set for similar offender; and (2) A-Rod will hold zero fantasy baseball value in 2013, and may never be fantasy relevant again. If for whatever reason you still own A-Rod and are stashing him on your DL, feel free to drop him immediately. From a fantasy perspective it's almost a sad story. Most of us can still remember the days when A-Rod was a fantasy stud, or even rode him to fantasy glory. And now we've watched him wither away slowly into complete fantasy irrelevance.
Update - July 22nd, 2013: Earlier today Ryan Braun was suspended by MLB without pay for the remainder of 2013 (65 games total). He surprisingly did not appeal the suspension, as apparently MLB had overwhelming evidence against him and Braun was looking to "cut a deal". Additional suspensions are expected shortly for Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Johnny Peralta and many other players. Fantasy owners who aren't in keeper leagues should drop Braun immediately - but those in keeper leagues should hold tight as he'll be back for the start of 2014. For the other players remaining on the list, it's really a case by case basis - but in general it's too early to make any irrational decisions. It'll be interesting to see which players accept their suspensions, and which will initiate a lengthy appeals process that could drag out into next season and potentially allow them to finish out 2013. Once we have these answers, we can make decisions on who to drop and when (based on your league format). Until then, hold tight and stay tuned for further updates. If you have any specific questions about your team, you can find us in our live fantasy chat room and on Twitter (@RotoBaller).
Update July 9th, 2013: Earlier today a report was released by ESPN stating that suspensions are expected shortly for Braun, A-Rod and others.
We have been covering this story all year, including the below coverage that was provided back on June 5th. As of now, the exact list of players and the suspensions lengths are still unknown. But we understand that MLB has been investigating these players for some time now, and is ready to hand out suspensions. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for further updates - including potential impacts to your fantasy baseball teams.
Back in March, a report was leaked and rumors started circulating about major MLB stars potentially being suspended for PED use. RotoBaller.com covered this PED suspension breaking news at the time, including the potential fantasy baseball implications that it could have had. Since the initial report was released back in March, it was important to give a pre-draft analysis about the worst case scenarios. After a few days, the rumors died down and nobody really paid much attention to the story, but now the rumors are back. And they're bigger and badder than before. So is it for real this time?
Well, let's start with the quick answer. Yes, this certainly looks to be the real deal. A report was published just a little bit ago by ESPN Outside the Lines, which is certainly a legitimate and reputable source. The report is stating that MLB is actually preparing to suspend approximately twenty different players for performance enhancing drugs. Twenty players! Needless to say, this is a huge deal for baseball as a sport and for the fantasy baseball community.
According to the report, Tony Bosch, the founder of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami, recently started cooperating with the MLB investigation. The full list of players still isn't public, but ESPN has mentioned Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Bartolo Colon and many others.
People familiar with the case have said that MLB and the commissioner's office may pursue 100-game suspensions for some of the players (instead of the collectively-bargained 50-game first-offense penalty). Now that Bosch has given a sworn statement and agreed to provide MLB with any information he has, this could get very ugly very fast. Even though the list is just twenty players now, many more names could be exposed soon. Who knows what kind of numbers we're looking at here. And if MLB pursues these players and hands out suspensions, this could become the biggest scandal in modern baseball history. It will surely be the biggest PED scandal to date. According to ESPN, we could begin seeing player suspensions coming down over the next few weeks. Ouch!
Right now there's not much fantasy baseball owners can do besides sit back, watch, and hope for the best. The implications of this many players getting suspended would be huge. Many fantasy baseball managers face the possibility of losing a key player from their teams for an extended stretch, forcing a desperation trade or waiver wire spree. It's not quite time to start making any hasty moves or snap decisions, but fantasy owners should keep a lookout for more news over the next few hours and days.
We certainly hope that there won't be shock waves felt throughout the baseball and fantasy baseball communities over the next few weeks, but this time it certainly sounds serious. Stay tuned...