Friday, June 7, 2013

Yankees Notes: Biogenesisgate and its implications

Right when we think the Steroid Era is coming to a close, a report surfaces that has everyone's attention. The implications mean more than just media gold - a shameful demotion of heroes and ballclubs' Plan Bs come into play. As we watch the headlines for more cooperation from Tony Bosch, Bud Selig and MLB's decisions regarding suspension, or anything including "Biogenesis" (which, if you asked me 10 years ago, I would first think of as a Nintendo 64 game title), we can take a look into some of the hypothetical storylines to follow.

One of the most interesting comparisons I've read about is Ryan Braun, who might be considered the "Lance Armstrong of baseball." Braun and the MLB Player's Association won a major appeal over a suspension given out for the beginning of the 2012 season, on the heels of his somewhat surprising 2011 NL MVP award over all-around performer Matt Kemp. If he is found guilty this time around, his successful appeal and defense of his title could all come crumbling down, not to mention the credibility of players league-wide in dealing with drug testing policies.

In addition to A-Rod, Francisco Cervelli and Robinson Cano have also been linked to this report in some way, shape, or form. The spokeswoman from Cano's RC24 charity, Sonia Cruz, was on record with the Miami-based clinic, but it just so happens that her involvement is for her own weight loss interests and has nothing to do with Cano. Cervelli is on record for denial of any illegal substance taken through Biogenesis, but the report is inconclusive to this point.

Because his contract makes it impossible not to, we focus on Alex Rodriguez. A potential repeat offender, A-Rod would set himself among the likes of Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, some of the surprise ex-Yankee PED suspensions from last year. Of course, that would only be a worthwhile grouping if A-Rod were an ex-Yankee. Rodriguez's public comments are all about his rehabilitation from injury and his attempts to get back onto the field, as they should be while everything else is speculation.

An intriguing storyline is the insurance policy the Yankees apparently have on the remaining years of A-Rod's contract. If he were to be unable to return to baseball as a result of his hip injuries, the Yankees would have insurance claims and the potential to earn back around 80% of the money owed to him, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. The complicated facets of this idea are that there are multiple claims that would have to be settled, but that could only come after A-Rod agrees to hang up his cleats, either out of legitimate inability or shame, neither of which seems highly likely at this point.

So, the question is, where could the Yankees turn for a third baseman for the next few years is A-Rod is out of the picture? Clearly the team is covered in the short-term, with the platoon of Kevin Youkilis and Jayson Nix providing solid defense and versatility. David Adams would be the most likely in-house candidate, provided that he can remain with the organization after the 40-man roster crunch happens with the stars coming off the 60-day DL.

Outside of the organization, most projected free agent third basemen are 35 and older, and most of the ones who aren't are Juan Uribe (who seems like he is 35 or older), Mark Reynolds (likely outside of the team's price range), and Wilson Betemit (a mistake only to be made once). Endless trade scenarios for players like Chase Headley, Mark Trumbo, and Pablo Sandoval could be made.

An above-average performance from a returning A-Rod or some return money would be ideal for these hobbled Yankees, but it's just as possible that a 100-game suspension is handed down and we remain in third baseman limbo. There are so many possibilities that, unfortunately, all anyone can do is watch the headlines and hope for a positive result.

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