It seems like all baseball news has been overshadowed by the looming Biogenesis suspensions and the circus that is Alex Rodriguez‘s, Major League Baseball’s and the New York Yankees’ public feud. Indeed, as this week began it appeared as though today’s trade deadline would be a mere afterthought. Or, if not an afterthought, that it would be subservient to the Biogenesis drama, with teams looking to desperately cover for players they will lose to suspension.
Things have calmed down considerably in the past 24, hours, however.
For one thing, one of the teams that stood to be most adversely affected by
Biogenesis suspensions — the Tigers, who will almost certainly lose Jhonny
Peralta — filled their imminent shortstop hole with Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox.
That, combined with the news that baseball is not likely to suspend Bartolo Colon
due to him already having been punished for taking the substances he received
from Biogenesis means that only one team currently in the playoff hunt stands to
lose a significant player. That being the Texas Rangers and Nelson Cruz, according
to multiple reports. Other players named in multiple reports include the Padres’
Everth Cabrera, whose team is not in contention, and Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli,
who is on the 60-day DL with a broken hand. Ryan Braun was suspended for the
remainder of the season, but with his team far from contention, it’s unlikely the Brewers
were going to do anything but sell anyways.
For another — and maybe I’m just imagining this — Major League Baseball
appears to be settling on Friday as D-Day in the Biogenesis mess. Last night
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! reported that the timeframe would be “within the next
72 hours” — a report that was later confirmed by multiple sources — as opposed
to dropping their bomb at or around today’s 4 p.m. ET trade deadline. Maybe this
is a matter of MLB still having work to do before issuing suspensions. Maybe it’s
a matter of the league wanting to bury bad news on a Friday afternoon like politicians
so often do. But maybe — just maybe — it’s a matter of MLB appreciating that the trade
deadline chatter and commentary is pretty good for its brand and deciding to let
that stuff have the limelight today.
The addition of a second wild card in each league also could be depressing
trade activity, because teams are hesitant to sell while they still are in
contention. Teams still need to sell tickets for the stretch run, and
surrendering before August is no way to do that. Besides, there’s always the
chance that a club goes on a late-season run.
MLB commended Braun for taking responsibility for his actions and said it
wanted to resolve this issue, but otherwise has been publicly silent about the
Biogenesis suspensions. Rodriguez’s attorney, David Cornwell, said in a
radio interview this week that his client planned to fight the suspension.
“When the time comes and baseball does whatever it is going to do, then I
will sit down with Alex and talk to him about the process of the appeal, filing
the appeal and going in and presenting our best evidence that we have — and we
think we have good evidence — to defend his interest, to protect him. That’s
what I expect to be doing,” Cornwell told Stephen A. Smith, who was hosting the
Michael Kay Show.
Rodriguez will always dominate the news, especially in New York. A-Rod would
lead New York sports news for years even if he joined a religious sect that had
him swear off sports, public appearances and money. He’s always the story in
Gotham. But outside of that crazy media environment trades and playoff races
seem to have been thrust to the fore last night and today.
Maybe Major League Baseball will fall back on old bad-P.R. habits and drop
it’s bad news bombs after lunch today. But for now it seems pretty darn
refreshing that we can focus on what’s truly good about baseball than what is,
quite frankly, a major, major drag.
Biogenesis is the dark cloud hanging ominously over baseball that simply won't
go away, but with clarity will also come complications for many contenders. We may
get a good look at how those contenders plan on dealing with their complications in
the next 24 hours.