Alex Rodriguez, as expected, received the biggest punishment: he will miss the remainder of this season and all of 2014, for a total of 211 games at the present time. It's the longest suspension ever meted out by major-league baseball in connection with performance enhancing drugs, and is in part because of the player's efforts to obstruct the investigation. However, Rodriguez is appealing, so will get to play while those wheels are in motion - he'll actually make his 2013 debut tonight, as they play the White Sox in Chicago. That could take up to 45 days, but the move will save the Yankees over $30 million in total, as they won't have to pay A-Rod while he is suspended.
The other suspensions are for 50 games, and it doesn't appear anybody will appeal those: interesting given the complaints heard from certain quarters about MLB "overreaching" their investigation. The major-leaguers affected are: SS Everth Cabrera (Padres), which will please Mark Reynolds , OF Nelson Cruz (Rangers), shortstop Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), RP Antonio Bastardo (Phillies), C Francisco Cervelli (Yankees), RP Sergio Escalona (Astros), C Jesus Montero (Mariners), OF Jordany Valdespin (Mets). Suspensions were also given to minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Fautino de los Santos, Cesar Puello and former Diamondback Jordan Norberto.
The last-named is the only one with any Arizona connection, and it doesn't seem like the suspensions will have any real effect on the NL West title-race, with Cabrera the only player from the division to be taken out: sadly, my hopes for a last-minute bulk suspension of the entire Dodgers' 25-man roster proved unfulfilled. However, it is interesting to note that P Bartolo Colon (Athletics), OF Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays) and catcher Yasmani Grandal (Padres), unlike the Brewers' Ryan Braun, are not being resuspended, despite their apparent links to the clinic. All three were previously given 50-game punishments for failed tests.
What's particularly interesting is that the new suspensions which were handed down, came about without a single positive test being recorded. That's something of a mixed message, I'd say. If MLB's testing policy is as effective as Bud Selig claimed in his statement, how is it possible for all those 13 players, it appears, to buy and use PEDs, without being caught? Even if you include the three mentioned above, that's a detection rate of little more than 20%: hardly a ringing endorsement of the program as a tool for detection. However, I do like that the commissioner's office is now using other investigative tools to acquire evidence. To quote Selig:
Upon learning that players were linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, we vigorously pursued evidence that linked those individuals to violations of our Program. We conducted a thorough, aggressive investigation guided by facts so that we could justly enforce our rules... This case resoundingly illustrates that the strength of our Program is not limited only to testing. We continue to attack this issue on every front - from science and research, to education and awareness, to fact-finding and investigative skills.
We, as players, are tired of talking about PEDs. I personally have little sympathy for those that act selfishly and scar the game we love.— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) August 5, 2013
Derrick Hall also chipped in:
I am very proud of the suspensions & penalties handed down today. We have the strongest testing & penalizing in sports & have cleaned it up!— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) August 5, 2013
I'd actually argue severely with the second sentence of that, considering that Olympic sports have a mandatory two-year ban for a first offense, rather than less than one-third of a season offered by baseball. I think the presence of this scandal shows that the current system of testing punishments is not, in fact, effective. While PED use may be less rampant than it was in the early years of the new millennium, if anyone thinks that Biogenesis was the only company in the country offering this service, they are, frankly, an idiot. There are likely any number of players out there, feeling they dodged a bullet because their suppliers weren't exposed by the New Times.