“Say it ain’t so, Yasmani/Everth!”
It doesn’t quite have the same ring as the classic, “Say it ain’t so, Joe!” Granted, Joe Jackson was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, and that Yasmani Grandal and Everth Cabrera are merely solid young players with potential.
That aside, the principle is the same: in both cases, a baseball player was accused of cheating, and faced a substantial suspension.
The case today: some twenty major leaguers, including Padres Grandal and Cabrera, will likely be suspended by Major League Baseball. Better-known players on this list include Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.
For Rodriguez, this would probably mean the end of his career. For Braun, who escaped another suspension in 2012 on a technicality, his reputation would be further tarnished.
What This Means for the Padres
Let me say from the get-go that cheaters should be punished. We should have no tolerance for ball players who seek to use unfair and illegal means to enhance their performances over their peers. It is wrong.
That said, if this were to happen, the Padres would be badly crippled for the rest of the season. Cabrera has been a surprisingly solid fielder at a tough position, and Grandal is a very solid hitter.
Should the suspensions go through, Cabrera would be out until August, serving a 50-game suspension.
The blow would be much more severe for Grandal, as he just came off of a 50-game suspension, meaning that he would then be sentenced to a 100-game suspension. This would effectively end his Padres career, as his credibility was already on the line.
Furthermore, who would take their places? Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe (once he returns from the 60-day DL) seem to be the most obvious choices. But unlike Cabrera, Amarista has a poor OBP, and Forsythe’s health is questionable over the long haul, as is his defense at shortstop.
The news is worse at catcher, as this would mean a return to the Nick Hundley-John Baker duo, who are hitting a combined .219. Since April, Hundley’s line has been .125/.172/.141. In other words, nothing short of atrocious.
But Will It Happen?
That is the key question. There are two major obstacles standing in its way:
First, MLB is counting on the testimony of Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now defunct Biogenesis of America clinic, who allegedly supplied PEDs to the twenty ballplayers being questioned.
The question is, would Bosch’s testimony be credible? Any time drugs and sports are combined, there will always be questions of character. For more, see here.
Second, you can be sure that the MLB players union will fight these mass suspensions, tooth and nail. How far they will go is anyone’s guess, but with something this massive–and potentially damaging to the sport’s reputation–all efforts will be made to thwart the effort.
Apparently, the suspensions will be handed down in a few weeks.
This is a sad time for baseball generally, and for the San Diego Padres specifically.