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Biogenesis suspensions: Just how little they matter in 2013


The effects of the Biogenesis suspensions will be both sweeping and long-lasting.

We just have almost no sense yet of what those effects will actually be.

The Tigers traded for Jose Iglesias because they knew Jhonny Peralta was getting sent up the river. There is a good chance that Iglesias switching teams will somehow determine the course of a World Series someday. Maybe in 2013, and maybe in 2023. Teams' records this season will rise or fall because of these suspensions, which will affect next June's draft order, and you know how much difference just one or two slots can make. Next year, some team is going to draft a future star solely because this year one of their players got suspended. This winter, a player coming off a suspension will sign with a team he wouldn't have signed with, if he hadn't been suspended. And that will affect the course of baseball history, too, in ways we simply cannot yet imagine.

These things and others will happen. As long as the great world keeps spinning, these things will happen.

This season, though? Yawn.

Here are the suspended players on the 20-80 scale, with 20 meaning NO IMPACT on who wins the World Series, and 80 meaning OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE ...

Antonio Bastardo (Phillies): 20
Setup man on non-contending club.

Jordany Valdespin (Mets): 20
Bench player hitting .188 for non-contending club.

Everth Cabrera (Padres): 20
Shortstop on non-contending club.

Francisco Cervelli (Yankees): 40
Weak-hitting catcher on modestly contending club, hasn't played since April because of elbow injury.

Jordan Norberto (free agent): NA

Jesus Montero (Mariners): 20
Triple-A catcher, parent club non-contenders

Cesar Puello (Mets): 20
Double-A outfielder, parent club non-contenders; I will mention that Puello was enjoying an outstanding season, and might have figured prominently in Mets' future plans. He might still.

Sergio Escalona (Astros): NA
Middle-aged relief pitcher, currently struggling in Double-A while recovering from Tommy John Surgery.

Fautino De Los Santos (Padres): NA
Has pitched in two minor-league games this season.

Fernando Martinez (Yankees): 25
Ex-Mets prospect actually got dumped by the Astros this summer, but had been playing well for the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate. I'm actually going to give him a few points for the remote possibility that he could theoretically have come up in September and delivered a big hit or two. Hey, it's baseball. Youneverknow.

But that's 10 "major leaguers" and essentially a bunch of completely utter non-factors in the stuff most people care about this season.

Which leaves just two plus one ...

Jhonny Peralta (Tigers): 50
At this point, losing Peralta probably won't hurt the Tigers much at all. They'll miss his bat, but Iglesias is far better with the glove. Granted, it's entirely possible that they'll win or lose a postseason series because they've got one shortstop and not the other. But if I'm a Tigers fan, I'm not at all worried about that position. As I mentioned at the top of this essay, there certainly will be ramifications. But they probably won't show up in the standings, or in October.

Nelson Cruz (Rangers): 65
This one hurts. Cruz leads the Rangers in homers and ribbies, and there's really nobody on the bench who's remotely capable of replacing his production. He's not a great player, though. We're not talking about Mike Trout here. Some of what they'll lose with the new bats, the Rangers will gain with the gloves. Still, it's a problem. The Rangers are right behind the A's in the American League West, and they're in the thick of the wild-card standings. They might well miss the playoffs by a game or two, in which case Cruz's absence will rank among the most compelling explanations.

So congratulations Nelson Cruz!!! You might be the only suspended player who actually matters!

Hey, bad publicity's better than no publicity, right? Except in this case, I guess.

Oh, and speaking of bad publicity, there's also Alexander Rodriguez. Since his suspension is being appealed or is pending or whatever, I'm not going to give this one a grade. But is he really that much better than the guys he's supposed to replace in the Yankees' lineup? It's hard to say. It'll be ... interesting if he plays well down the stretch and the Yankees squeak into the playoffs. What's more likely, assuming he does play, is the Yankees' season peters out because they're just not as good as their competition.

These suspensions matter. They matter a lot, for myriad reasons. But their practical impact this season seems small today, and might wind up becoming nothing at all.