Looking at the potentially suspended Biogenesis players

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Let’s run down the list of players connected to Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic as MLB is reportedly preparing to issue 50- or 100-game suspensions. Listed below are players whose names are found in the Biogenesis documents. Other major leaguers may well be involved, as some of Bosch’s clients were listed in code. Since Bosch is set to cooperate with MLB in its investigation, this list could grow significantly longer soon. According to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, MLB is preparing to suspend players who purchased illegal substances from Bosch for 50 or 100 games, even if it means ruining the season in the process.

The Players

Alex Rodriguez (3B Yankees): Sidelined since Opening Day following offseason hip surgery, Rodriguez, who admitted to using steroids a decade ago but was never suspended, has been aiming to return to the Yankees lineup in July. Players suspended for steroid use while on the disabled list are able to serve those suspensions while injured, so if Rodriguez were to receive a 50-game ban in the near future, he could still return in August. A 100-game ban, on the other hand, would essentially end his season.

Ryan Braun (OF Brewers): Braun was originally set to be suspended for a positive PED test in Dec. 2011, only to have it wiped out on appeal. Of course, that was all supposed to go on behind closed doors, but it leaked to the media not long after Braun won NL MVP honors in 2011. This year, Braun is hitting .294 with nine homers for a disappointing Brewers team. He’s currently third in the outfield in the NL All-Star balloting, putting him in position for a spot in the starting lineup in the Midseason Classic.

Melky Cabrera (OF Blue Jays), Bartolo Colon (RHP Athletics) and Yasmani Grandal (C Padres): All three players here tested positive for steroids before MLB had any knowledge of Bosch’s operation and have already served 50-game suspensions. If MLB is going to try banning A-Rod and Braun for 100 games (50 games for cheating and 50 games for lying about it), then it could deliver additional 50-game suspensions to this trio. Still, that seems like quite a reach. These guys have already done their time.

Nelson Cruz (OF Rangers): The 32-year-old Cruz has a ton to lose here, since he’ll be a free agent at season’s end. His team would greatly suffer without him as well, and his absence could lead to Jurickson Profar being tried in the outfield. Cruz is batting .267 with 13 homers and 39 RBI this year, making him a candidate for AL All-Star honors.

Jhonny Peralta (SS Tigers): The Tigers might be the contender most adversely affected should these penalties come to pass; Peralta has been the AL’s top offensive shortstop this year, hitting .332 with six homers and 26 RBI, and the Tigers just don’t have any decent options to fill his shoes. Utilityman Ramon Santiago is long past his prime, and Danny Worth is injured in Triple-A. Like Cruz, Peralta is also a free agent this winter.

Everth Cabrera (SS Padres): Cabrera led the NL in stolen bases with 44 last year, but he was still a rather anonymous figure outside of San Diego. This year, he’s been getting more attention, thanks in part to some added power. He has four homers in 57 games after hitting two in 115 games in 2012, and his OPS has climbed by more than 100 points. He’s still a force on the basepaths, too, leading the majors with 23 steals.

Francisco Cervelli (C Yankees): One can imagine Cervelli, who played in 178 games as the Yankees’ primary backup catcher from 2009-11, was looking for something a little extra last year after being banished to the minors and thus turned to Bosch for help. Following Russell Martin’s departure, he won the starting job this spring and was off to an excellent start (.269/.377/.500, three homers in 52 at-bats) before going down with a fractured right hand. Barring a suspension, he’s due to rejoin the Yankees lineup in late June.

Jesus Montero (C-DH Mariners): A former Yankees prospect, Montero was dealt to the Mariners prior to 2012 and had a decent rookie season last year, hitting .260 with 15 homers. This year, he was a huge bust as a starting catcher, hitting .208 with three homers in 101 at-bats, and he was sent back to Triple-A late last month. Just 23, he’s still a promising hitter, but his future is at first base or DH. He’s currently on the minor league DL after tearing knee cartilage.

Fernando Martinez (OF Astros): Martinez was once one of the game’s very best prospects while in the Mets chain, but he’s never been able to stay healthy and he’s now a long shot to enjoy a lengthy major league career. After hitting .182 in 11 games for the Astros earlier this year, he was dropped from the roster and cleared waivers. He’s now back in Triple-A.

Fautino De Los Santos (RHP free agent): De Los Santos was a strong prospect in the White Sox system before undergoing Tommy John surgery and converting to relief. He looked like a fine bullpen arm as a rookie in 2011, striking out 43 batters in 33 1/3 innings for the A’s, but he showed up in 2012 which diminished stuff and has bounced around since. The Padres released him last month.

Jordan Norberto (LHP free agent): Norberto had a 2.77 ERA in 52 innings of relief work for the A’s last year, but he struggled this spring and got hurt. Oakland released him last month.

Cesar Puello (OF Mets): Puello, 22, has been a breakout performer in the Mets system this year, hitting .302/.382/.521 with eight homers and 15 steals for Double-A Binghamton. That slugging percentage is nearly 100 points higher than his previous career high.

Unlikely to be suspended

Gio Gonzalez (LHP Nationals): Gonzalez is believed to have been a Biogenesis buyer, but only of legal substances. Two sources told ESPN that Gonzalez is probably off the hook as far as any punishments go.

Robinson Cano (2B Yankees): Cano’s known connection with Biogenesis is very tenuous: the spokeswoman for his charitable foundation was named in Bosch’s documents. That was enough to get Cano on MLB’s watchlist, but if anything more significant has turned up, the league has kept it quiet.

Eric Hosmer’s eight-year, $144 million contract isn’t that bad

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Late Saturday night, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the Padres and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to an eight-year, $144 million contract, the new largest contract in club history. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, the contract includes an opt-out after the fifth year. Further, Hosmer will average $21 million per year for those first five years and $13 million for the final three years, so it’s severely front-loaded.

Hosmer, 28, had a career year last season, playing in all 162 games while batting .318/.385/.498 with 25 home runs, 94 RBI, and 98 runs scored in 671 plate appearances. Per Baseball Reference, Hosmer accrued 4.0 Wins Above Replacement, only one of six first basemen to do so. At No. 6, he was 0.4 WAR behind Anthony Rizzo and 0.4 WAR ahead of Logan Morrison.

Wil Myers had previously told the Padres he would accept a position change if the club were to sign Hosmer. He will be moving to the outfield as a result. The Padres now have a logjam in the outfield, so Jose Pirela could move moved to the infield. How the Padres plan to handle that situation remains to be seen.

The general consensus about the Hosmer signing once news broke was that it is laughably bad. Back in November, Dave Cameron — ironically now in the Padres’ front office — called Hosmer a “free agent landmine.” That thought hasn’t really changed among many writers. For example, using restraint, Dennis Lin of The Athletic calls the deal “a big gamble.” MLB Network’s Brian Kenny said Hosmer has at least three “red flags.”

FanGraphs projects the Padres to finish 71-91, so adding Hosmer isn’t likely to transform the club into a contender on his own. That being said, the Padres’ payroll was only at $70 million prior to the Hosmer signing, so the contract won’t hamstring them going forward. If the young nucleus of players — including Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe — perform as expected, the Padres could be a threat in the NL West relatively soon with plenty of cheap, cost-controlled players and having some experienced veterans like Hosmer and Myers could be useful for their intangibles — pennant race/playoff experience, clubhouse presence, leadership, etc.

Hosmer has had three seasons of 3.5 WAR or more, according to Baseball Reference. He’s had four between -0.5 and 1.0. Now entering his age-28 season, it’s hardly a guarantee he’ll be an All-Star-caliber player in 2018, let alone in 2022 when he is 32 years old. From a strict dollars-to-WAR standpoint in a complete vacuum, one could’ve done better than Hosmer at eight years, $144 million.

The Padres, however, aren’t a small market team; they just operate like one. Forbes valued the club at $1.125 billion last April. The Padres don’t have the financial muscle of the Dodgers or Yankees, but paying Eric Hosmer $18 million on average for the first five years of his contract won’t come close to hurting the organization in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, signing Hosmer shows the rest of the team and the fans a commitment to being legitimate, bumping the payroll up towards $90 million. That now dwarfs teams like the large-market Phillies, who opened up spring training with just over $60 million in player obligations.

In the grand scheme of things, the Hosmer signing is also a good sign given the standstill in the free agent market. Many veteran players — even reliever Fernando Abad, who posted a 3.30 ERA last season — had to settle for minor league contracts instead of guaranteed major league deals. Many others, including the likes of Jake Arrieta and J.D. Martinez, remain unsigned. The rumor that Hosmer wanted more than seven years and close to $150 million was laughed at last month. Agent Scott Boras was still able to get his client the deal he wanted, which could bode well for those still teamless. Martinez’s patience may yet be rewarded like Hosmer’s was; money may once again start flowing in the free agent economy.

In summation, the Eric Hosmer contract is good if: you are Eric Hosmer, related to or a friend of Eric Hosmer, a teammate of Hosmer’s, Scott Boras, a current or soon-to-be free agent, a Padres fan, and a baseball fan in general. The Hosmer contract is bad if: you are a penny-pinching owner of a Major League Baseball team, or someone who cares more about $/WAR than an actual good product being put on the field.