2013 Fantasy Baseball: Braun Suspended for Remainder of 2013, Will Not Appeal
Fantasy owners of Ryan Braun have been suffering the consequences of his thumb injury all season. Because of the time missed and the ineffectiveness that have occurred as a result of the injury, Braun hasn’t even been a top 50 outfielder this season according to ESPN.com’s player rater. And presumably that thumb, along with the fact that the Brewers aren’t anywhere close to being in contention, made sitting out the rest of the season a lot easier to accept. The ESPN press release notes that Braun’s suspension will cover the remaining 65 regular season games on Milwaukee’s schedule as well as any possible postseason games they might play. But we all know there’s a 0% chance the Brewers are playing postseason games, so this suspension stings a lot less. Rest that thumb and come back healthy next year when the Brewers will have a non-zero percent chance of playing in the postseason.
J.P. Breen, who is both my Rotographs colleague and, more importantly, the owner of Disciples of Uecker, the ESPN Sweet Spot blog for the Brewers, had this to say about the suspension:
So yeah, this isn’t as bad as it seems. However, if you’re in a keeper league, there’s a possibility that Braun’s value may be down despite the fact that he’ll be eligible to play from the get-go next year. First of all, there are the games he’ll miss this year. If his owner is in the hunt, he might be willing to deal Braun, especially if the league has short benches. And there’s also just a general amount of uncertainty surrounding a player anytime something like this happens. There’s also a chance that his owner, like me, still considers Braun an easy top ten commodity in keeper leagues. If that’s the case, what can you do? But it’s worth making an offer commensurate with the kind of offer you might make for a 2nd round quality type of player.
The other thing we should talk about is how this potentially affects the other players named in this scandal. The fantasy relevant players are Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, Everth Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez and Jhonny Peralta (whose inclusion on this list was done begrudgingly). For someone like Everth, there is a chance that he could somewhat follow Braun and take his suspension now (which will only be 50 games), so that he won’t miss any time in 2014. The Padres aren’t necessarily out of it, but we all know that they are. So test the market on Everth. People may be scared off by the Braun suspension, but it could make sense to minimize risk and deal him if you can get anything of value for him. Target another high steals guy but one that doesn’t do much else because Everth’s steals will likely be tough to replace.
But Cruz, Colon, Gonzalez and Peralta are all on teams that are still trying to make the playoffs. I would expect each of them to appeal any suspension they received. And that’s especially true for Colon who would be looking at a 100 game suspension for his second offense. And the same goes for Melky who would also be receiving 100 games. I would expect the appeals process to prevent the suspension from going into effect until late this season if not next season. As a result, these are guys that I would be looking to deal for and holding on to if I had them. They’re perceived value is almost certainly lower than it should be.