How Looming PED Suspensions Could Impact the 2013 MLB Trade Deadline
Another cloud of performance-enhancing drug use surrounds Major League Baseball.
While other clouds in recent years have revealed new players, this cloud surrounds players involved in other scandals.
The Biogenesis scandal, however, has the potential to be the largest doping scandal in U.S. history.
It's not going away.
Those involved include Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers), Melky Cabrera (Toronto Blue Jays), Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers), Bartolo Colon (Oakland Athletics) and Yasmani Grandal (San Diego Padres), among others.
Of those players, the only one not to be linked before was Cruz.
One source familiar with the case said the commissioner's office might seek 100-game suspensions for Rodriguez, Braun and other players, the penalty for a second doping offense. The argument, the source said, is the players' connection to Bosch constitutes one offense, and previous statements to MLB officials denying any such connection or the use of PEDs constitute another.
So, what does that mean for the playoff race? What does that mean for the trading deadline?
Where Each Team Stands
When it comes to possible moves at the deadline, it's important to note where each team is in the standings.
San Diego (29-34) currently sits six games out in the NL West and has allowed the second-most runs (290) in the National League this year.
Milwaukee (25-37) has dealt with injuries all year, and sits 15.5 games out in the NL Central. The Brewers have allowed the most runs (303) in the NL this year.
Toronto (27-35) sits 11 games back in the AL East and has been punchless for most of the year.
The Yankees, A's and Rangers have three of the top four records in the American League and should be there when September rolls around.
Impact at the Deadline
If the suspensions were to go through, I don't see Milwaukee and Toronto making any moves to help their teams. Both are suffering thus far and wouldn't be in the playoff hunt anyways.
The Blue Jays could move one of their other players to help replenish the minors, but that's about as far as they'll go.
The biggest impact from the scandal could come between the Yankees and Padres.
The Padres have said they have no plans to trade Chase Headley. However, they would listen if the right package was presented.
The Yankees have Dante Bichette Jr. as the only real third-base prospect in the system, but he's still in Class A.
The Yankees could pair Bichette along with either Mason Williams or Tyler Austin (not both) and one of their top pitching prospects.
Sure, the Yankees would be giving up a little, but it would give them an upgrade at third base over Kevin Youkilis.
If Colon were to be suspended for the A's, Oakland could make a move to help bolster their rotation.
With a young staff, Oakland could look towards acquiring a veteran for a playoff run. From Paul Maholm to Edison Volquez, there are many pitchers who will be free agents next year, and could be available for the right price.
And it's not like it would cost them an arm and a leg for one of those players. For Volquez, you're likely looking at a mid-level prospect, while a good reliever could net Maholm.
The Rangers would have the biggest question mark if Cruz were to be suspended.
With no real power bat in the outfield, Texas might have to consider giving up a good minor league player to make up for that loss.
Players like Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rios and Josh Willingham could be available, although Soriano might be the easiest to snag.
Regardless, Cruz leads the team in home runs (15) and RBI (42), so somebody has to replace that. If the Rangers don't, Oakland could come up late in the season and steal the division once again.
Which team will be affected the most if all players are suspended in the Biogenesis scandal?
Will There Be Any Real Difference?
The only real differences will likely come from Texas and Oakland.
New York has gotten along just fine without Rodriguez.
San Diego, Milwaukee and Toronto aren't going to be in the playoff race, so any moves those teams make won't make a difference this year.
However, for Texas and Oakland, the loss of Cruz or Colon will hurt their franchises.
Cruz has been one of the best hitters on the team and provides power from a corner outfield position.
Colon has been Oakland's best pitcher this year and isn't easily replaceable.
Both team's success could hinge on what moves they make if their particular player is suspended.
It's not an ideal situation for either, but it's one they could face prior to the deadline.
One thing is for sure: MLB needs to get through the appeals process quickly so teams have a chance to act before the deadline passes.
The worst thing MLB can do is wait until after July 31 when the non-waiver deadline is over.
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