Big League Stew

Five important non-A-Rod questions heading into the Biogenesis day of reckoning

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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The day of reckoning for MLB players linked to Biogenesis is here. After waiting months for punishments related to the scandal at the Miami-area wellness clinic run by Anthony Bosch, then hanging on the edges of our seats last week when we knew suspensions were looming, baseball fans are now told to expect an announcement Monday afternoon.

A-Rod, of course, is the No. 1 name we're all waiting to hear about. His news changes twice a day, but the latest is that he expects to play Monday, meaning he'll appeal whatever suspension is handed to him by MLB.

The other players in MLB's crosshairs because of Biogenesis: Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Jesus Montero, Cesar Puello, Fernando Martinez, Jordan Norberto and Fautino De Los Santos. Ryan Braun, of course, was already suspended.

While A-Rod is dominating the conversation, he's not even the player in the Biogenesis mess most likely to affect a pennant race. Let's look at who that is and five other non-A-Rod Biogenesis questions we hope to get answers to Monday.

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1. What is Nelson Cruz going to do? With the Detroit Tigers making a trade to cover an absence for shortstop Jhonny Peralta, that leaves the Texas Rangers as the team with the most to lose this season if the Biogenesis suspensions go the way most people think. Outfielder Nelson Cruz — Texas' leader in home runs and RBIs — is expected to get a 50-game suspension. The Rangers say they have a backup plan for Monday if Cruz is zapped. Cruz says he doesn't know what he's going to do, but he expects to play Monday. Geez, it's not like we're talking about a hamstring pull here, guys. Cruz could very well appeal and play a little bit more, like A-Rod is expected to do. But he's also a free agent after this season, so if he doesn't win his appeal, he could lose some offseason bargaining power if he's got, say, 30 games of a suspension remaining in 2014.

2. Who else, if anyone, will appeal? Cruz is the name that's most talked about as an appeal possibility. A-Rod's camp is said to be ready to fight 'til the end. Anybody else? Again: Appealing a suspension means a player can still suit up until the appeal is heard. Other than A-Rod and Cruz, a pair of shortstops, Peralta, Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres, are the only other Biogenesis affiliates — except for the guys who have already served time, more on them in a second — who are active on a major league roster. The others are either in the minors, injured or free agents.

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3. What will happen to the guys who were already suspended? Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal are the three players linked to Biogenesis who have already been suspended by MLB after failed drug tests. They've each served their suspensions. And while it's not 100% confirmed from MLB, all indications point toward these three not getting an additional suspension. If they did, though? That would be tough for the Oakland Athletics, who are in first place in the AL West. Colon's 14-3, 2.50 ERA season is a big reason why.

4. Who are the mystery suspensions? Perhaps the most intriguing part of Monday's announcement is the mystery suspensions. We've been dealing with the same dozen or so names for the past six months, so reports that there are a few new names among the suspensions is welcome — just so we have new people to talk about. Reports indicate that there are three (or maybe more) players who hadn't yet been publicly linked to Biogenesis on Monday's suspension list. Because every good soap opera needs a twist in the last 10 minutes, right?

5. Will we just get wishy-washy admissions again? When Ryan Braun was suspended by MLB, we got a say-nothing statement from the former NL MVP in which he said he was sorry, but never said what he was sorry for. Is baseball going to let the players who accept their suspensions wander away for 50 games without coming out and directly saying what they did? If MLB wants fans to believe that they're actually punishing these players and cleaning up the game, we're going to need some specifics. Not hollow statements of, "I'm sorry for what I've done. I know I've let my teammates down" with no real meat to them. Treat it like a plea bargain in a court case. Make the dirty players fess up.

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