Mailbag: Ryan Bruan’s Biogenesis Suspension and Cesar Puello

Dave writes:

With the Braun suspension in connection with Biogenises, why have we not heard anything from you regarding Puello and his name on the list?
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I certainly have not avoided the story. I was on it in January when word broke that Puello was training with some of the same guys as Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera. I wrote about in June, twice.
I haven’t written at length about Puello and Biogenesis since because I have had little to add since the story broke in June.
What the Bruan suspension makes clear is that MLB and MLBPA are together very willing to go outside the usual procedures of 50/100/life for a first, second and third PED punishment. Thus, any further discipline will be bargained. I had figured that MLB would negotiate relatively shorter sentences with most of the “smaller” fish to get cooperation to build stronger cases against Braun, Alex Rodriguez and even Nelson Cruz. Braun, however, made a rational decision, with his thumb hurting (leading to his second lowest isolated slugging percentage of his career), and his Brewers irrelevant, to get his punishment out of the way and start over. Given that Braun’s base compensation hops from $8.5 million this year to $10 million next year, it made economic sense to take his unpaid suspension now when it would cost him less.
What’s this mean for Puello? He will still have to bargain with MLB negotiators. At the moment, the Binghamton Mets have played 100 of their 142 games. Even if Puello took a 50-game suspension now, it would trail into next year. A suspension for the duration of this year would be for 42 games. That option, if indeed, he and the Mets and the MLBPA believe a suspension will be forthcoming, and upheld, looks better and better. And to be clear, those ifs and ands in the previous sentence are really important. If the parties on Puello’s side believe he has a chance to fight and avoid a suspension, fairly obviously, his incentive for negotiating drops significantly.
I would not bet on a 50-game suspension for Puello. Rather, I’d bet on something either longer or shorter. Which, I do not know.
The other issue we have not touched on is how any potential PED use affects Cesar Puello as a baseball player. Has it helped his 2013 season? Maybe. Has it been irrelevant? Maybe. Have players who were suspended for PED use come back better? Marlon Byrd says “yes.” Basically, I cannot draw a direct line between a player’s PED use and his performance.

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