When Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun accepted a 65 game suspension for violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, he did so without opting to appeal the decision. Because the violations are not related to an actual positive test, instead tied to evidence that Braun was using performance-enhancing drugs, the penalties do not have to follow the traditional 50-game ban for first time violations and 100-games ban for a second violation. In all likelihood, Braun and his representation essentially plea bargained their way to the 65 game number.
For Braun and the Brewers, the benefit of the suspension is that he’ll get to start the 2014 season without the cloud of impending suspension hanging over him. Milwaukee is not in the race this year and Braun had already missed a lot of the season dealing with injury. The Brewers do not, however, intend on being NL Central cellar-dwellers beyond this season and getting this situation behind them as quickly as possible is paramount to a return to prominence for the club.
If Braun, a former NL MVP, was a big fish in the Biogenesis investigation, New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the biggest of the names associated with the scandal surrounding the Miami-based anti-aging clinic. Rodriguez, who has yet to play in a big league game this season due to a hip injury, is rumored to be employing a team of private investigators to refute the credibility of Biogenesis boss Tony Bosch, who is working with Major League Baseball; credibility that Bosch has gained with Braun’s deal. If speculation is true, however, the evidence against A-Rod might be significantly greater than what Braun was faced with when he opted not to appeal his ban.
Rodriguez completed 20 days on rehab assignment and was all set to be activated by the Yankees this week. Instead, he was pulled due to a quad strain which would keep him out at least another week. The conspiracy theorists among us assume the injury to be concocted to buy a little more time for the investigation to come to a close on Rodriguez and for a suspension to be handed down. There have been reports that A-Rod’s representatives have been in negotiations with MLB on a deal similar to the one Braun secured, though the suspension is assumed to be of significantly greater length.
“I don’t think he’s going to beat the suspension back to the field,” one person connected to Rodriguez told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Rodriguez will turn 38 years old later this month and is coming off injuries to both his hips over the past three years. He was already looking like a player on the severe down slope of his career. If the expected suspension goes beyond this season, it could threaten his career.
Statistically one of the greatest players of all-time, Rodriguez was once thought to be well on his way to breaking Barry Bonds‘ record for career home runs. What’s more: baseball wanted him, or anyone really, to get Bonds’ name out of the top spot in the books. Now, there seems to be maybe more questions about the validity of A-Rod’s numbers than there are about Bonds’.