The news came down yesterday that MLB is, at least according to some sources, on the verge of handing out suspensions in the Biogenesis case. These sources continue to say that MLB is intent on giving Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez 100-game suspensions despite the fact that neither has previously served a PED suspension and despite the fact that the Joint Drug Agreement clearly states that 100-game suspensions are second-time discipline.
This is a pretty extreme approach. Maybe it’s just bluster, intended to scare players into copping to their PED use and accepting a 50-game suspension (if so, that’s pretty clever actually). But MLB may actually level a 100-game suspension. The question I have if they do this is what possible basis do they have for making it stick?
The ESPN report says that, at least in Braun’s case, it would be the result of both an association with Anthony Bosch and for lying to investigators. Which is interesting considering that the same report says that Braun did not answer investigators’ questions. Maybe it was his lyin’ eyes, I dunno. Or, more likely, maybe the real basis for double discipline is Braun’s alleged lack of cooperation with the league. That could make more sense.
Except for one thing: Melky Cabrera.
Last year Melky Cabrera famously — and quite ridiculously — attempted to pass off a phony website as an excuse for his positive PED test. It caused MLB to actually have to conduct an investigation into the phony company, purchase phony products and, at least according to some reports, travel to the Dominican Republic. This, apart from its hilarity, was blatant lying, deception and fraud. And yet, at the end of it, Melky Cabrera was given only a 50-game suspension.
If what Melky Cabrera did wasn’t worthy of double discipline, how on earth could Braun offering denials or, more likely, not saying anything, justify it?
If your answer is “Braun really made them mad last year and they want to get even” well, therein lies the bulk of my objection to what’s been going down in the Biogenesis matter.
(h/t to Kyle Kaestner for pointing out the Melky analogy on Twitter yesterday)