The Washington Nationals' hopes for a World Series title in 2013 remain unaffected despite Gio Gonzalez being linked with performance-enhancing drugs.
Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times reported that Gonzalez's name, among many other athletes', was on a list from the anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. Elfrink writes:
The records are clear in describing the firm's real business: selling performance-enhancing drugs, from human growth hormone (HGH) to testosterone to anabolic steroids.
Gonzalez went to Twitter to deny any PED use:
Other than bad PR, it's hard to see how this could affect Gonzalez and the Nationals in 2013.
Until more information is known, Major League Baseball can't exactly suspend him for 50 games. He hasn't failed a drug test, and there isn't any real tangible proof that he has used PEDs.
If the league tries to overstep its bounds, you can bet the players' union will be there to see it doesn't happen.
Should Gonzalez be suspended for the 50 games, it's not going to hurt him like it would any other position player. Gonzalez would miss about 10 starts. The impact of those 10 lost starts would only be negligible for the Nationals.
Washington has one of the best pitching staffs in MLB. Dan Haren is penciled in right now as the No. 5 starter. Few teams would be better prepared than the Nationals to replace somebody like Gonzalez; there would be a slight drop-off, but nothing too serious.
Bartolo Colon was suspended toward the end of last season after testing positive for PEDs. He only made 24 starts, but they were enough to get the Oakland A's in the American League playoff hunt.
The overall quality of the A's starting rotation was enough to overcome the loss of Colon.
In the likely event that Gonzalez gets off without much of a punishment, it's not going to hamper his performance on the field. A player can only be jeered about steroids so much before it all starts to sound the same and loses any effect.
The fan backlash behind suspected PED use didn't stop Bonds in his pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. And it didn't stop Ryan Braun from putting up numbers almost similar to 2011, when he won National League MVP.
It's quite a coincidence that this news comes a season after the Nationals shut down Stephen Strasburg. Many baseball purists criticized the move, saying the baseball gods love hubris.
Somehow, the game's deities would strike back at the Nationals for sitting their best pitcher in the most critical part of the season.
Perhaps this is the baseball gods' revenge. If it is, they'll want to try a little harder to derail Washington's chances for winning it all in 2013.