Well, the first shoe in the BioGenesis case has fallen. Faced with the possibility of having the issue continue to linger into 2014, Ryan Braun has agreed to a deal with MLB, and will be suspended for the rest of the 2013 season, which in the Brewers case, amounts to 65 games.
While Braun’s not going to enjoy being suspended, this is actually a pretty good resolution for the Brewers overall. Their 2013 season is obviously finished, and the marginal value of Braun’s contributions this year weren’t really going to matter to the organization. Without him in the line-up, they might even end up with a better draft pick than they would have otherwise in a year where the amateur talent is supposed to be pretty good.
More importantly, this should close the book on the BioGenesis case as far as Braun is concerned, which means that his 2014 status should no longer be in doubt. Braun basically is agreeing to serve a 65 game suspension in a season where those games are meaningless in order to avoid getting suspended in a year where any missed games might impact a pennant race.
For Braun’s own personal legacy and record, this is a blow, but for the Brewers, it’s hard to imagine a better outcome, given that MLB clearly wasn’t going to let this go. Yeah, it’s 65 games, but this is the equivalent of getting pinch hit for in a blow-out. The 2013 Brewers weren’t going anywhere with Ryan Braun, and so now, they put this behind them next spring and try to win with their best player able to spend the whole season on the active roster.
It will be interesting to see how many other players on non-contenders agree to similar deals, putting the appeals process aside and just agreeing to serve their suspensions in lost seasons. If I’m a non-contender and I’ve got a player linked to BioGenesis, I’m strongly urging them to do the same.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.