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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Rodriguez, Braun, Cruz, Peralta: life after the Biogenesis scandal.

Alex Rodriguez was booed, Nelson Cruz cheered during the three game series just completed in Seattle between the Yankees and Mariners.  Rodriguez played for Seattle from 1994 through 2000.  As a free agent Rodriguez signed a big contract with Texas, then was traded to the Yankees in 2004 and got a new contract from them in 2007.

Cruz is in his first season with Seattle, following one season in Baltimore, which followed 8 seasons in Texas, none of which overlapped with Rodriguez.

The big four caught and suspended in the 2013 Biogenesis scandal were: Alex RodriguezRyan BraunNelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta.  Only Braun failed a drug test.
Tony Bosch, Biogenesis owner
All received suspensions in August 2013: Rodriguez 211 games (through 2014), Braun 65, Cruz 50, Peralta 50.  Rodriguez was the only one to appeal, for obvious reasons.  Considering that he would be 39 when he would return in 2015 it appeared to have been a baseball death sentence.  Rodriguez was allowed to play in 2013 while the appeal process ran its course, which was into the off season.  Many, including fellow players, resented his playing and some sought retribution.

Rodriguez lost his appeal and served the remainder of his suspension, the entire 2014 season.  Now he is back.

Braun, now 31, has played his entire big league career with the Milwaukee Brewers, former commissioner Allan Huber Bud Selig's team.  Braun was Rookie of the Year in 2007, leading the National Conference in slugging average.  2008-2012 Braun was an All Star.  In 2008 third in MVP.  2011 MVP.  2012 second in MVP.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Braun#Performance-enhancing_drugs

You can click that link and read about Braun having failed tests in 2011 for performance enhancing drugs (PED) and winning an appeal on a technicality.  Braun's appeal drew less ire than that of Rodriguez but was not without serious consequences for Braun.  Braun's performance in 2012 after he was outed was comparable to that in his 2011 MVP season.  Braun's numbers were down in 2014 and 2015: OPS+ 112, 120.

Cruz and Peralta happened to become free agents after 2013.  Their suspensions did not seem to be much of a factor in their negotiating new contracts.

Cruz had a one year impact:
201332Texas Rangers$10,500,0005.082
201433Baltimore Orioles$8,000,0006.082
201534Seattle Mariners$14,250,0007.082
201635Seattle Mariners$14,250,000
201736Seattle Mariners$14,250,000
201837Seattle Mariners$14,250,000
Peralta did well:
201331Detroit Tigers$6,000,0008.118
201432St. Louis Cardinals$15,500,0009.118
201533St. Louis Cardinals$15,000,00010.118
201634St. Louis Cardinals$12,500,000
201735St. Louis Cardinals$10,000,000
Cruz was the only player to hit 40 homers in 2014 and he leads in homers in 2015 and has OPS+ 186.

Peralta had a fine season in 2014 and is doing even better in 2015 with OPS+ 138.

Rodriguez has returned from the grave and exceeded pretty much all expectations as a designated hitter (DH): OPS+ 145.  While he is booed on the road it has devolved into a knee jerk reaction suggesting that those booing hardly remember why they are supposed to boo.  Even the media types who were crushing Rodriguez since August 2013 have gotten bored with themselves.

There were about 11 other players suspended in 2013 along with these four but I cannot remember who and it's better that we leave them alone.  These four serve the purpose of putting that episode into a current perspective.  All four are doing well, presumably without PED, which makes one wonder what all the fuss was about.  Home runs are down, strike outs are up.  Pitchers continue the dominance they have enjoyed throughout baseball history.  The only time people seem to want things changed is to put the hitters down.  Batting averages are well below .500 so the pitchers are firmly in control.

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