Major League Baseball did not dole out all of its Biogenesis suspensions at the same time, but look for the remaining punishments to come sooner rather than later.
“What baseball would like to do is wrap up the suspensions as quickly as possible,” MLB.com columnist Richard Justice said on The John Feinstein Show. “I was surprised they did (Ryan Braun’s suspension) separately from the others, but I think they saw Braun as enhancing Tony Bosch’s credibility.”
Braun received a 65-game suspension, a punishment deemed inadequate by many of his peers – probably because Braun is guaranteed more than $125 million between now and 2021.
“The vast majority of players are angry,” Justice said. “I was stunned a year ago when Braun got off how many players were mad.”
It also didn’t help that Melky Cabrera returned from his suspension and signed a $16-million contract. Many players are angry that the punishment for first-time offenders amounts to, in many ways, a slap on the wrist. Some want first-time offenders to be suspended for an entire season, while others are calling for a lifetime ban.
It may seem drastic, but when one player stains the game, everyone involved in the game gets stained, too. It’s a black eye for everyone, and the guys who don’t use performance-enhancing drugs are fed up.
“The players are really ticked off,” Justice said.
Alex Rodriguez, meanwhile, continues to take center stage in the “will he play, won’t he play” drama unfolding in the Bronx. Rodriguez, according to an outside doctor, is healthy enough to suit up right now; the Yankees’ brass – or the Yankees’ team doctor, depending on your point of view – doesn’t see it the same way.
“The Yankees don’t want him back,” Justice said. “And I do believe that (Rodriguez is) trying to make it clear to everyone that, ‘Hey, I’m ready to play, and they don’t want me back.’
“I think A-Rod is a reality show waiting to happen. I don’t know what the second act of his life’s going to be, but I bet it’s going to be bizarre. And for him to defy the Yankees – you know, the Yankees do things a certain way and he’s pretty much been telling them, ‘I don’t care how Mariano Rivera acts or behaves; I don’t care how Derek Jeter behaves. I’m me.’
“The end game I see is he never puts on the (Yankee) uniform again. He knows the evidence MLB has against him. Major League Baseball wants to wrap (the suspensions) up ASAP, and I think the Yankees are hoping – and I believe this will happen – they’ll get bailed out by the suspension and he can begin the arbitration process.
“I think for Alex, his goal is not to get on the field; the goal is to collect all his money that he has left on his contract, and the Yankees’ goal is to get out of it as much as possible and to move on.”