There are "strong indications" that MLB will hand down suspensions related to the PED scandal this week, Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported today. They say Alex Rodriguez, the lightning rod of it all, could be suspended the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014. (Which sounds a bit ridiculous.) They did not mention any other names specifically, but Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers has in the past had his name appear in connection to Biogenesis, so the fear of a Tigers connection remains.
The Post reports:
It always has been MLB's plan to announce the suspensions at one time for the 15-plus players believed to be facing sanctions in the performance-enhancing drug case. MLB went early with Ryan Braun's suspension because of his willingness to accept the penalty without appeal.
They add that MLB will likely suspend most at the first-time offender penalty of 50 games (thus the timing of the announcement) even though evidence does not come from failed urine or blood samples.
The thinking is MLB wants to provide the first-time offenders this carrot: Don't appeal and you can serve the entire suspension this year and start with a clean slate for next season.
For many out of contention, that may sound like a pretty nice carrot. As this relates to the Tigers, there are a lot of unknowns right now, making the issue not nearly as cut and dried.
Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci reported that Peralta did not appear to be directly linked to PEDs in the records.
Peralta does not appear to be directly tied to PEDs in the records, as was also the case with Montero. The Levinsons referred comment to an attorney for Peralta, Barry Boss, who released this statement on behalf of Peralta: "I have never used performance enhancing drugs. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is lying."
And, of course, it seems likely if he failed a drug test we'd have heard about it, though you probably can't say for certain with the messy way this investigation has unfolded.
So, whether Peralta would be subject to suspension, and whether that suspension would be 50 games, are both unknowns. If he were to be suspended, would it be in his best interest to serve or appeal?
The Tigers will have 58 games remaining after Sunday's. If a suspension were announced this week, Peralta would seem to be eligible to return in time for the postseason, should the Tigers hold off the Indians for the final two months of the season. Some have posited that the image-conscious Tigers would advise Peralta to accept the punishment rather than appealing.
But would they then decide that having him appear on their playoff roster would "look bad"? You might remember the Giants chose not to add Melky Cabrera to their posteason roster following his suspension last season, and it turned out just fine for them. If the Tigers are truly image conscious, the Giants' decision could be a precedent, or else the Tigers risk being a bad contrast in the eyes of the press (and some fans).
And what would the Tigers do without Peralta? Hernan Perez, who has been filling in for an injured second baseman Omar Infante, would seem the most likely answer when Infante returns -- whenever that is. His ankle injury has lingered longer than expected. Perez is hitting .267/.281/.333, a large drop from Peralta's .304/.359/.451. Utility infielder Ramon Santiago is batting .165/.236/.247, so he's hardly a solution either. Would the Tigers be able to weather the loss of Peralta or would they be forced to make a trade?
There are many more questions than answers right now, and anyone who claims to know for sure how things are going to turn out is doing little more than passing opinion as fact. The rest remains to be seen.