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Reality Check: A new uncertainty

Senior Fantasy Writer
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And so it begins.

The Biogenesis investigation, which the Miami Times first brought to light in late January, is no longer a specter hanging over Fantasy owners, but a full-on plague promising to bring down anyone who dared toy with it.

The first to fall, the biggest of all: Ryan J. Braun. With MVP-caliber production every year since breaking into the big leagues, he was each of his Fantasy owners' ace in the hole -- fresh off the DL, back in the lineup, ready to put a disappointing first half behind him. Yes, his suspension comes just when his owners were beginning to trust him again, just when the world had them believing a lengthy appeals process would precede any possible suspension, just when they thought trading him might not be in their best interests.

Talk about a punch in the gut.

And with that, every other player connected to the Biogenesis investigation is flagged: a group that includes Everth Cabrera, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon and Jhonny Peralta, among others. It doesn't even matter if they're guilty or not. They're on the list, and now that everyone knows what happens to those on the list, they're imminently worthless. You'd have better luck selling wine by the sieve.

Go ahead. Try trading one of them. I can guarantee what the response will be.

"Oh, no. That deadweight could be done tomorrow. Just look at Ryan Braun."

Yes, look at him.

Look at how he made what seemed like the height of paranoia an instant reality.

Look at how he reduced his value to zero at the drop of a hat.

Look at how he made even the sure things in Fantasy suspect.

Then, look down, because that's where you're headed in the standings.

If you're a Braun owner, this little retrospective is nothing more than salt in the wound. He had value. It's gone now, your ace in the hole reduced to something slightly less than Skip Schumaker. But that's not the most depressing part: If you're a non-Braun owner, you can't even use his sudden suspension as a cautionary tale.

What are your options, really? Unloading Cabrera, Cruz, Colon or Peralta before they get suspended? That's probably a lost cause. They're already suspended in the minds of so many that you wouldn't get 50 cents on the dollar anymore. You might not even get a dime.

Dumping them just to spare yourself the heartache? Well, that's premature. Just because Braun chose to forego the appeals process and serve his suspension now doesn't mean they all will. Cabrera could still end up being the waiver claim who leads you to the championship when all's said and done.

Ideally, you could go all used-car salesman and use that very argument as a last-ditch attempt to finagle a deal, but if you actually pull it off -- and without a veto, I might add -- your talents are going to waste, my friend. Let's you and I revive the Pet Rock.

More realistically, you're at a standstill with these four. The safe approach is to consider whatever they give you as a bonus and to position yourself to survive without them. Practically speaking, the Cabrera owner might put in a claim for an up-and-comer like Brad Miller, or the Cruz owner might swing a deal for a power hitter like Adam Dunn. The options are endless, of course. Better to act now, before your league's trade deadline, than to roll the dice and leave yourself with nowhere to turn.

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Because if the Braun revelation showed us anything, it's that the reckoning could come any day now.

As for Braun, he at least has the benefit of a known timetable now. Yeah, he'll miss the rest of this season, but he'll enter next year fresh, without any known threats to his playing time, and will presumably go off the board in the early rounds because of it. Sure, you'll find some who question if he's really the same player now that he's off "the juice," but to me, he already proved it with his near-MVP performance last year, when the league office was dying to catch him in the act after he got off on a technicality that offseason. If he managed to skate through then, I don't know if we can trust that anyone is clean.

And I'm not sure I'd want to play Fantasy Baseball in that scenario. I understand exceptions will always pop up, but I have to believe that's all they are. The game should be about making predictions and maneuvering pieces, not sniffing out cheaters and sorting out half-truths. Injuries are one thing. Regression is one thing. But this?

This introduces an element of uncertainty to a game that has more than enough already.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite .

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Player News
Mariners RF Seth Smith comes up big in win over A's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7:26 pm ET) Mariners right fielder Seth Smith hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to lift his team past the Athletics on Sunday.

Smith went 1 for 2 with a walk and two RBI.

Over his last nine games, Smith is hitting .269 with seven hits, a home run and five RBI.


Mets 2B Wilmer Flores has another huge game
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7:26 pm ET) Second baseman Wilmer Flores must love the California air, as he had another impressive outing Sunday as the Mets rolled to an 8-0 victory over the Dodgers. 

Flores, hitting fourth in the lineup, was 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs and a run scored. For the three-game series, Flores was 10-for-13 with five RBIs, helping to raise his average from .233 to .258. 

In the prior seven games before the Mets played the Dodgers, Flores was 4-for-27. 


Athletics SP Chris Bassitt allows two runs in loss to Mariners
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7:22 pm ET) Athletics starting pitcher Chris Bassitt enjoyed a solid outing against the Mariners on Sunday, despite coming up with the loss.

Bassitt tossed 5 2/3 innings, gave up two runs on five hits and struck out three batters. He was dominant through five innings, but got in trouble in the sixth when he allowed two runs to score off a Seth Smith single.

Bassitt is now 0-2 on the season with a 2.95 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.


Dodgers SP Mike Bolsinger saddled with loss
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7:15 pm ET) Mike Bolsinger had a shaky outing Sunday, and the Dodgers starter was on the losing end of the ledger as the Mets' bats exploded in an 8-0 triumph. 

Bolsinger lasted just five innings, allowing nine hits and four runs. He walked two and struck out four, but after 101 ineffective pitches, was done for the day. 

After starting 3-0, Bolsinger has lost three of his last four decisions, and has given up 11 earned runs in his last four starts. 


Mariners closer Fernando Rodney notches 16th save of season
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7:13 pm ET) Mariners closer Fernando Rodney recorded his 19th save of the year in Sunday's win over the Athletics.

Rodney closed out the ninth inning, though it took him 26 pitches to do so. He allowed a walk, one hit but did strike out a batter in the process.

Rodney (2-3) has a 5.18 ERA with 27 strikeouts and 17 walks in 33 innings of relief this season.


Mariners SP Mike Montgomery is dominant in win
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7:11 pm ET) Marirners starting pitcher Mike Montgomery allowed just one run on six hits during Sunday's outing against the Athletics.

Montgomery tossed 5 2/3 innings and was dominant throughout most of the performance. His lone mistake came on a solo home run he allowed to A's left fielder Sam Fuld.

Montgomery improves to 4-2 on the season. He has a 1.62 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 13 walks in 50 innings this season.


Mets SP Steven Matz sharp in second start
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7:10 pm ET) Mets rookie starter Steven Matz showed no signs of a sophomore slump in his second start Sunday, dominating the Dodgers over six innings to improve to 2-0 as New York rolled to a win. 

Matz was nearly unhittable during his time on the hill, striking out eight batters while walking two. He gave up just two hits, both singles, during his 101-pitch outings. 

Matz is now 2-0 on the season, and has lowered his ERA on the campaign to 1.32. He continued to be impressive with the bat as well, driving in a run with an RBI groundout. 


Eric Hosmer hits walk-off double for Royals
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:49 pm ET) Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer hit a walk-off double in Sunday's win over Minnesota. 

Hosmer went 1 for 3 with a walk. The double was his first extra base hit since June 19. He's hit .200 since then. 


Cardinals RP Kevin Siegrist earns fourth save
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(6:47 pm ET) With normal closer Trevor Rosenthal unavailable, the Cardinals turned to Kevin Siegrist to close out Sunday's win over the Padres, and Siegrist came through with his fourth save of the year. 

Siegrist needed just 14 pitches to retire the Padres in order and pick up his first save since June 16. He is 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA and 14 holds on the season. 


Ian Kennedy tough-luck loser for Padres
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(6:44 pm ET) Padres starter Ian Kennedy pitched well enough to get a win Sunday, but was foiled by San Diego's lackluster offense in a 3-1 loss to the Cardinals. 

Kennedy went six innings, allowing seven hits and three runs while walking none and striking out four. However, he made a mistake to Cardinals rookie Tommy Pham for a home run and let his pitching counterpart, Lance Lynn, pick up two hits. 

"Just eliminate two people in the lineup, Lynn and Pham," Kennedy said. "They hit me well."

Kennedy has now dropped three straight games to fall to 4-8 on the season, even though he has lowered his ERA to 4.84 over that time. 


 
 
 
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