The cloud of the Biogenesis scandal has been hovering over us all season long, but it finally claimed its first victim on Monday, as Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the remainder of the 2013 season. He accepted the suspension rather than file an appeal, which is an indication that the case against him was overwhelming.
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in a statement released by MLB. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions."
There were no positive tests involved and the announcement only said that Braun violated MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program, but ESPN's T.J. Quinn reports that evidence against him showed an "ongoing pattern of significant PED use." Of course, Braun had a 50-game PED suspension overturned in February of 2012 after an arbitrator ruled that the proper protocol was not followed in regard to his urine sample. While he dodged the bullet in that particular instance, MLB put the hammer down this time around.
Braun was one of the first players off the board in fantasy leagues this spring, so he'll go down as a significant disappointment. Playing through a lingering thumb injury for most of the season, he produced a .298/.372/.498 batting line to go along with nine home runs, 38 RBI and four stolen bases in 61 games. Those are still solid numbers, but not what most fantasy owners were hoping for on draft day. And now that a suspension has been handed out, those in redraft leagues will have to move on to other options. The silver lining here is that the Brewers and fantasy owners won't have to worry about his status headed into 2014.
Braun is just the first on a long list of names who could reportedly be suspended due to their connection to Biogenesis and Tony Bosch, including the likes of Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera. That Braun accepted his punishment gives credibility to Bosch's information, so any players facing a suspension might have a tough time winning an appeal. Just something to keep in mind as the process continues. Fantasy owners should be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
With MLB's trade deadline just a little over one week away, stay tuned to our player news page for all the latest rumors and transactions. And make sure to follow @djshort and @Rotoworld_BB if you are on Twitter.
Garza Packs His Bags For Texas
In what would have normally been the biggest story of the day, the Rangers acquired right-hander Matt Garza from the Cubs on Monday in exchange for third baseman Mike Olt, right-handers Justin Grimm and C.J. Edwards, and one or two players to be named later. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that if the Cubs select prospect right-hander Neil Ramirez as the player to be named later, the deal is done. If not, they'll get to pick two other players from an agreed-upon list.
The Rangers have managed to stay afloat this season despite a number of injuries in their rotation, but Garza provides an experienced and quality arm alongside Yu Darvish and Derek Holland. The 29-year-old didn't make his season debut this year until May 21 following a strained lat during spring training, but he has a quality 3.17 ERA and 62/20 K/BB ratio in 71 innings across 11 starts. While he'll be moving to the American League and one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in the game, the Rangers are a superior team than the Cubs and should provide plenty of run support.
Given that Garza was set to hit the free agent market after the season, the Cubs did well with the return. From a fantasy perspective, Olt is the most interesting name in the short-term. His stock has faded a bit recently, partially due to vision problems this season, but he's said to be past it now and still packs plenty of power potential. The Cubs plan to send Olt to Triple-A Iowa initially, but we should see him at third base in the majors soon. He's a no-doubt pickup in NL-only leagues and should be worth using in deeper mixed formats when he eventually gets the call.
Jason Grilli has been a feel-good story for the Pirates this season, recently earning his first All-Star selection at the age of 36, but it all came to a screeching halt Monday night after he was forced to leave an appearance against the Nationals due to right forearm discomfort.
Grilli left the field in obvious pain after he threw a pitch that was fouled off by Steve Lombardozzi. He's scheduled to be re-evaluated on Tuesday, but it certainly had the look of a serious injury. For what it's worth, the 36-year-old right-hander previously had Tommy John surgery in 2002 when he was with the Marlins.
Losing Grilli for any length of time is a tough blow to the Pirates and fantasy owners alike, but Mark Melancon is a capable replacement for the closer role. After being acquired from the Red Sox in the Joel Hanrahan deal over the winter, the 28-year-old right-hander has a 0.97 ERA and 47/6 K/BB ratio over 46 1/3 innings. He's a must-own in all fantasy leagues.
NL Quick Hits: X-rays were negative on Matt Kemp's left ankle, but he could require a trip to the disabled list … Andrew McCutchen clubbed a pair of two-run homers in Monday's win over the Nationals … The Marlins sent Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna to the minors after Monday's game and are bringing up top prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson confirmed Monday that he will use Brad Ziegler at closer for the time being … Jayson Werth had his second straight two-homer game on Monday against the Pirates … Jason Heyward (hamstring) went 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to action Monday and made a game-saving catch in center field … Dillon Gee flirted with a no-hitter while tossing seven scoreless innings Monday against the Braves, but ended up with a no-decision … The Braves placed Paul Maholm on the disabled list with a left wrist contusion and will call up Alex Wood to start Thursday against the Mets … Neil Walker (oblique) could be activated from the disabled list Tuesday … In his first start since his no-hitter, Tim Lincecum was rocked for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings by the Reds on Monday … Jon Niese (shoulder) could be cleared to start throwing off a mound in the next couple of days … Lucas Duda (intercostal) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment later this week … Ryan Vogelsong (hand) will throw a simulated game Tuesday … Brian Wilson (elbow) reportedly looked "game ready" during a private throwing session with the Giants on Monday and will have an audition for interested teams on Thursday in Los Angeles … Mets prospect catcher Travis d'Arnaud (foot) has been cleared to start playing in minor league games … The Rockies optioned Josh Rutledge to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday in order to make room for Drew Pomeranz's return … Jason Marquis has "significant damage" to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow and is likely headed for Tommy John surgery …
AL Quick Hits: Miguel Cabrera is considered day-to-day after he Monday's game with a sore left hip flexor … Max Scherzer notched his 14th win Monday by holding the White Sox to two runs over eight innings … Yu Darvish (neck) held the Yankees to two hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his return from the disabled list Monday … Matt Moore pitched a two-hit shutout in a win over the Red Sox on Monday … Chris Sale struck out 11 batters Monday, but was handed the loss after giving up four runs (two earned) over eight innings against the Tigers … Clay Buchholz (neck, shoulder) will resume throwing after he was told by Dr. James Andrews on Monday that he's only dealing with inflammation and no structural damage … Yoenis Cespedes (wrist) missed his fourth straight game Monday, but is expected to take batting practice Tuesday … Josh Hamilton was scratched from Monday's lineup due to ankle stiffness … Derek Jeter (quad) fielded ground balls hit directly at him on Monday and hopes to return when he's first eligible on Saturday … Curtis Granderson (finger) played in a simulated game Monday … Wil Myers missed a second straight game Monday in order to rest his left wrist, but is expected to return Tuesday … Josh Johnson was socked for five runs in two-plus innings Monday against the Dodgers and now owns a 5.66 ERA for the year … Lance Berkman (hip) took batting practice Monday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list … Michael Morse (quad) hit a two-run homer Monday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Tacoma … Gordon Beckham (wrist) missed his second straight game Monday and could be placed on the disabled list … Jason Vargas (arm) hopes to start throwing off a mound on Tuesday or Wednesday … Brett Anderson threw 25-35 pitches Monday in his first bullpen session since being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right foot in May … Paul Konerko (back) went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his return from the disabled list Monday…