Fantasy Baseball: What to Do with Ryan Braun, Others Connected to Biogenesis

Kyle Terada-USA Today Sports

Considering it’s still the beginning of the year and the novelty of baseball is fresh again — and we still have fantasy hope — it’s a pretty bleak day in Major League Baseball. Last night in the bottom of the 6th inning, Carlos Quentin charged the mound and smashed 50-pounds-lighter-than-him Zach Greinke, breaking Greinke’s collarbone*. Then, today, it was reported that the MLB was forced to buy old Biogenesis records before they were destroyed because an unknown player apparently already bought some so he could destroy them — now there are murmurs that that player was Alex Rodriguez, which I guess doesn’t surprise me. Arod has left a black hole in my soul, a Yankee fan’s soul, that can’t get any bleaker no matter what happens.
*I kind of feel bad for Greinke in that situation. I never condone fighting, but Greinke was simply doing his purported ‘duty’ as a pitcher and getting Kemp’s back after he was almost hit by a pitch, and then his teammates didn’t get his back until it was too late.
So after hours on Baseball-Reference.com contacting sources and 540 Google searches, I’ve concluded that you can safely drop Alex Rodriguez from your fantasy baseball team. Oh, you don’t have him? Okay, well, unfortunately, there are also other players in the Biogenesis records. Let’s look at the players supposedly tied to Biogenesis, discuss their potential punishments, and decide what you should do if you have them.
Players can be suspended if they’re linked to the Biogenesis documents. In fact, there’s already been a 100-game suspension doled out to Detroit Tigers minor league Cesar Carrillo. Minor leaguers are under a much different agreement than the CBA, and MLB players would be suspended only 50 games, but a precedent is there.
The one things to take into account when deciding what to do is how the other members of your league perceive the situation. Do they believe they’ll be suspended? Do they think Ryan Braun is innocent? You have to get a feel for this so you can get an accurate what those players’ price tags might be.
According to some reports, the MLB is specifically targeting Rodriguez and Milwaukee Brewers OF Ryan Braun after Arod’s already been connected with steroids and Braun apparently ‘beat’ his positive PED test citing tampering. I think, though, that at this point, especially since you spent a top-3 pick on Braun, you’re stuck. It’s impossible to feel comfortable trading away a player who, if he doesn’t get suspended, will give you reliable numbers in five categories all while being reliably healthy. If you trade him you probably won’t get full price because people might be a bit scared — at this point, everyone suspects Braun did take PEDs. If you don’t trade him, he might get suspended. This is all obvious, but considering you probably won’t stand much of a chance without Braun, you have to hold on and hope for the best.
With guys like Gio Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz, who are replaceable, I’d seek trade offers. Gonzalez has had less accusatory press surrounding his involvement with Biogenesis — as far as his father backing him up — and Cruz doesn’t seem to have gotten much press at all. You might even be able to trade Cruz without any mention of the connection at all.
I fortunately don’t own any of the connected players in any of my leagues. But if I did, I’d seek offers for the players other than Braun. You might get lucky with some overly-optimistic manager member of your league. With Braun, though, I’d say you’re stuck, and I wish you the best.
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