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ESPN Reporting "As Many As 20 Players" To Be Suspended

Per a new story from ESPN, Ryan Braun is not cooperating with MLB's Biogenesis investigation, and as many as 20 players are expected to be suspended after the All Star Break

Jeff Gross

T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN have a story out which talks about Ryan Braun not cooperating with MLB investigators in connection with their investigation of Biogenesis. Of particular concern to Ranger fans is this item:

Commissioner Bud Selig's office is expected to suspend Braun and Rodriguez, along with as many as 20 players sometime after next week's All-Star break, several sources told "Outside the Lines."

This would likely include Nelson Cruz, who, of course, has been identified as one with connections to Biogenesis.

Several thoughts here.

First, I don't see why MLB is leaking this information right before the All Star Game, a time that is supposed to be a celebration of baseball. I have to assume that they believe that the p.r. benefits for appearing tough on drugs outweighs the p.r. hit that MLB is suffering from with this.

Secondly, even if there are mass suspensions after the All Star Break, there is still going to be an appeals process. That appeals process is, I would think, going to be slowed by the fact that there are a bunch of players who are going to be appealing, and that the appeals are going to involve much more detailed and complex issues than just a positive drug test and chain of custody questions. I don't have the information as to how the appeals process works, but even if suspensions come down in mid- to late-July, at this point, I think it would be hard for the appeals process to be done by season's end.

Third, worst case scenario is that Nelson Cruz gets suspended right after the All Star Break. That would be a devastating blow to the offense, as Cruz is one of the few players who has exceeded expectations offensively this season. That would also mean that the Rangers would have a starting outfield of David Murphy, Engel Beltre and Leonys Martin, with Jurickson Profar as the DH. The Rangers would probably look to Mike Olt to help bolster the bench, and would be praying for Manny Ramirez to show something to suggest he could contribute at the major league level. The Rangers would also probably start working the phones to check on COF/1B/DH types that could be on the market, such as Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios, or Hunter Pence, not to mention cheaper, lower-level options like Justin Ruggiano and Marlon Byrd.

Bottom line, this situation is a huge mess, and MLB is making things worse by leaking the fact that they are planning on issuing suspensions to the media at this point.