Yeah, this news is gonna leave a mark on your fantasy roster: According to a report from ESPN's "Outside the Lines," Major League Baseball is preparing to suspend a significant number of players — perhaps 20 or more — connected to the Biogenesis PED scandal, including Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz and Alex Rodriguez.
Tony Bosch, founder of Biogenesis, has reportedly agreed to cooperate with MLB's investigation. That is to say, he's going to name names — and several of the names are BIG.
In addition to Braun, Cruz and A-Rod, the following players have been tied to Biogenesis: Everth Cabrera, Melky Cabrera, Francisco Cervelli, Bartolo Colon, Fautino de los Santos, Yasmani Grandal, Fernando Martinez, Jesus Montero, and Jhonny Peralta. Other players are no doubt involved, but haven't yet been identified. Gio Gonzalez is also among those linked to the clinic, although reports suggest he may have only received legal substances. Robinson Cano has been connected to Biogenesis indirectly, through an employee of his foundation. (Cano is also besties with Melky, for whatever that's worth.)
So this is a big, steaming fantasy mess. If 20-plus players are indeed involved, then we're looking at maybe 1,000 total games lost due to suspension. Perhaps more. Without a single positive test result. This is a PED scandal unlike any other.
ESPN's report suggests that Bosch is expected to meet with baseball officials within a week, with suspensions presumably announced shortly thereafter. Of course MLB will probably need to dig up another former Biogenesis worker (or workers) to corroborate Bosch's statements. And then the appeals process will then need to play out, so it's not as if any of these guys are going to start missing games tomorrow, or next week. There's probably an argument to be made for buying (very) low on guys like Braun and Cruz if you can.
In fantasy sports — or in anything, really — it rarely pays to make a panic move. You should probably begin browsing for replacement options in your league's free agent pool, but please try to resist the temptation to make a desperation trade immediately. You have time. Don't sell, not today.
One of the many bummers in this saga, fantasy-wise, is that 20 suspensions would not result in 20 must-add players for the roto crowd. Maybe Logan Schafer gets interesting in Milwaukee, though he's not an obvious mixed league pick-up. Or maybe a Cruz suspension could bring Mike Olt into the conversation for Texas. Or maybe it results in a wheel-play that helps Jurickson Profar.
But we're racing ahead of the story. Again, you don't actually need to make a big move this instant, because, as of this writing, nothing has actually happened. Don't blow up your roster long before Bosch blows it up.
(Related: If I were Tony Bosch, not sure I'd actually admit that Jesus Montero had been taking my products. Tough call.)
It's a shame this news broke on Tuesday, a night that gave us plenty of between-the-lines action to discuss...
• We've already Puig'd you into submission around here, so I'll keep tonight's blurb brief: He is the greatest at baseball. Is it fair to call him "Ruthian," or is it more accurate to say that Ruth was "Puigian"? I'm not sure.
Check the totals from Yasiel's second career major league start: 3-for-4, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBIs. Here's the highlight reel. Please enjoy responsibly.
If you're a Braun owner who recently picked up Yasiel Puig, then you're probably 90 percent less freaked out about the Biogenesis story than the rest of us.
• The Nationals have recalled prospect Anthony Rendon, and, as a favor to fantasy owners, they intend to play him at second base. Davey Johnson sounds confident (via MLB.com)...
It was just last week Rendon was sent from Harrisburg to Syracuse to play second base after manning third for most of the season. Johnson believes Rendon has the footwork to play second base, although he had some problems completing some double plays while at Syracuse.
"[Rendon] did a crash course with me in the spring," Johnson said. "He said he played at Little League. He must have had a pretty good memory, because he had good footwork around the bag. He transitioned real well."
...so feel free to take a flier here, as needed. Rendon has hit .307/.452(!)/.575 across two minor league levels this season, with 12 doubles, six homers, and more walks (32) than Ks (28).
• The only Rangers pitcher to pitch a scoreless inning on Tuesday night was David Murphy, an outfielder. So that pretty much tells you how things went for Texas.
"I like my chances when we get 17 runs," said Boston's Ryan Dempster. Well, sure. Six players delivered multi-hit games for the Red Sox, as Rangers starter Justin Grimm (8 R) and reliever Joseph Ortiz (6 R) were absolutely mauled. Let's hope you had a piece of the action on the Boston side.
• You guys will probably never believe this, but Steve Cishek blew a save chance on Tuesday night. Philadelphia's John Mayberry Jr. hit a game-tying homer off Cishek in the 10th inning, then a game-winning grand slam off Edgar Olmos in the 11th. And no, it's not often that you see a player drive in five extra-inning runs in a single game.
Domonic Brown apparently did not homer for the Phillies, which is kind of shocking.
• All the disappointing Braves made noise in Tuesday's extra-inning win over the Pirates. Andrelton Simmons went 3-for-5 with a stolen base, Jason Heyward went 2-for-4 with a double, BJ Upton homered, and Dan Uggla went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks. Simmons delivered the game-winning hit in the 10th. He's now riding a 10-game hitting streak, and he's raised his season average to .256.
• Scooter Gennett got the start at second for Milwaukee, and he delivered a classic Rickie Weeks-style batting line: 0-for-3, 3 Ks. Weeks himself made an appearance in the eighth for the Brewers, finishing 1-for-2, scoring a run.
• Mets pitching prospect Zack Wheeler will be arriving soon, though we're still not sure exactly when or where. But soon. Wheeler's PCL stats won't blow you away (3.86 ERA, 1.30 WHIP), but realize that he's been stuck in Las Vegas, a terrible pitching environment. (Supporting details right here.) On the road this season, Wheeler is 4-1 with an ERA of 2.23. At home, he's still looking for his first win and his ERA is 5.88. When New York promotes him, you'll want to kick the tires. He's striking out a batter per inning (59 Ks in 58.1 IP), and he's pitched well in his last six starts (2.57 ERA).
• Michael Pineda and his surgically repaired shoulder are just a few days away from beginning a rehab assignment at Single-A Tampa, so that's great news for the Yanks. We'll need to monitor Pineda's results and velocity, obviously. He's not the worst DL stash for fantasy owners — he struck out 173 batters in 171.0 innings back in 2011 — but you'll need to think of him as a lottery ticket, not as a lock.
• Do all Heath Bell saves begin with a lead-off double? It certainly feels that way. That's the route Bell took on Tuesday, again, but he nonetheless successfully converted the save chance. The much-anticipated Tyler Skaggs-Michael Wacha showdown was not exactly a pitching clinic, as the two young starters combined to allow 16 hits and 11 runs. Wacha got the worst of it, but Skaggs was no ace.
• Before we conclude this edition of Closing Time, we bring you video proof that Albert Pujols can still hit a baseball 9,000 feet. Goodness. That thing was, um ... well-struck. And Aybar's reaction was just the best.