According to Outside the Lines, the ESPN entity that originally reported that MLB planned to suspend players connected with the Miami Biogenesis clinic that had previously distributed performance enhancing drugs, now reports that those suspensions are coming next week after the All-Star break.
After bringing in the man who ran the clinic – Tony Bosch – to provide evidence against his former customers, and after obtaining further documentation about the PED links, MLB apparently believes it has sufficient evidence to suspend the at-issue players. The list of previously-implicated players includes Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and as many as 15 others (some of whom have not yet been identified).
According to OTL, MLB has been meeting with the players, and Ryan Braun – at least – refused to cooperate. He, along with Rodriguez, may be suspended for 100 games as “repeat offenders,” even though they haven’t been suspended before. Other players could be suspended for 100 games because MLB views the drug offense and then lying about it to be two distinct offenses, meriting double punishment. If that sounds odd, it isn’t just you. I imagine MLB has a more detailed and deeper theory, but we just haven’t heard it yet.
The implications of this story are far-reaching, especially as we approach the Trade Deadline … and await the identification of any yet unnamed players. Hopefully the Cubs avoid any entanglement in the story, and we can merely observe as fascinated outsiders. Getting this right is pretty damn important for Major League Baseball, and they will face a big fight after they announce these suspensions, which are not based on positive tests. If they do go this route, hopefully their documentation is extensive. Otherwise, they could be looking at another FedEx-sized embarrassment.