The Biogenesis saga has dragged on for months now, and not one Rays player has been even rumored to be on the list of players that will be suspended. How should Rays fans react that? A common response would be “well, no one on my team got suspended, so clearly they’re better than all those cheating teams.” But delving just a little deeper elucidates just how foolish that reaction is. While not one Rays major leaguer is set to be suspended as far as we know, 12 Rays minor leaguers have been suspended since the start of 2012 for drugs, more than any other team in baseball. You can make an entire team just out of the players in the Rays organization that have been suspended for drugs. Take a look.
The corner infielders are a little bit of a stretch–Rogers is an outfielder who has played third base once while Wendt is really a backup catcher–and that pitching staff doesn’t really have a starting pitcher, but a lot of teams wished they had a double play combination of Ryan Brett and Tim Beckham. You have three players here–Jose Disla, Brett Blaise, and Angel Yepez–who are Rookie ball guys, but you also have five players who have shown quite a bit of talent in Beckham, Brett, Josh Sale, and to a lesser extent Cody Rogers and Mark Thomas. And while we’re talking all minor leaguers, it is not the craziest thing in the world to imagine how this would affect the Rays’ major league ballclub because it already has. When Beckham was suspended last year for a drug of abuse, he cost himself a chance for a big league call-up because the Rays would have had to heavily consider giving him a look over the unimpressive duo of Sean Rodriguez and Elliot Johnson who was starting for them at shortstop at the time. And this year, Chris Gimenez was out for a while with a hand injury, so Thomas was potentially one more injury away from a big league call-up in a backup catcher role. Now, because of his suspension, that’s an impossibility. No, the Rays didn’t have a played implicated in Biogenesis. But why does it matter when the organization has had 12 players suspended for other violations of the drug policy?
When you here about Ryan Braun and whoever comes next getting suspended, don’t think that they’re cheaters and your hometown heroes are obviously clean. Don’t say that clearly this emphasizes the integrity of the Rays organization that people who join the clubhouse relax and don’t feel the impulse to cheat. Manny Ramirez was suspended in 2011 in a Rays uniform, and it’s only a matter of time until someone is next. Baseball is doing a good job getting rid of drug users, but they’re certainly not gone yet. Rays fans should feel relief that their suspensions have come in the minor leagues and not the majors and keep their boasting to themselves knowing that it’s only a matter of time before a suspension hits the Rays’ big league roster again.