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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
Curtis Granderson drives in four for Mets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:29 pm ET) Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson drove in four runs in Tuesday's 7-1 win over Atlanta. 

Granderson went 3 for 5, improving his average to .196, hit his first double of the season and drove in his first four runs. Granderson drove in two runs with a fifth inning single, added another RBI with a single in the sixth, and finished his run production with an eighth-inning RBI double. 


Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista cranks another homer Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:28 pm ET) Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista went 1 for 5 at the plate Tuesday in Toronto's 13-6 win over the Orioles.

Bautista did his damage in the seventh inning when he ripped a 3-1 pitch from Jason Garcia over the center field wall for a two-run blast, his fourth of the season. He is now hitting .149 with 10 RBI in 47 at-bats this year.


Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion cranks two home runs
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:25 pm ET) Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion went 2 for 5 at the plate Tuesday in Toronto's 13-6 win over the Orioles.

Encarnacion got things going early when he ripped the first pitch he saw from Bud Norris over the center field wall for a solo home run, his third of the year. Then in the sixth, Encarnacion did it again, leading off with a solo home run off Brian Matusz over the left field wall.

Encarnacion is now hitting .218 with eight RBI in 55 at-bats this season.


Rays 2B Ryan Brett (shoulder) likely headed to disabled list
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(10:23 pm ET) Rays second baseman Ryan Brett is likely headed for the disabled list after dislocating his shoulder during Tuesday's loss to the Red Sox, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

Brett injured his shoulder (officially diagnosed as a subluxation) while in the process of getting picked off as a runner at first base.

If Brett is added to the DL, the subsequent roster move is unknown as of Tuesday night.

Orioles pitcher Bud Norris continues to struggle on the mound
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:21 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris went just 2 1/3 innings in Baltimore's 13-6 loss to the Blue Jays Tuesday. Norris allowed nine runs on just six hits with three walks in his start.

Norris had issues early on when he allowed a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the second inning. Then Norris allowed a double before walking the bases loaded. Ryan Goins singled to right to score two more runs before Jose Reyes reached on a fielder's choice and brought home another.

Norris would allow two more runs in the third before getting the hook. Norris, now 0-2 on the year, ballooned his ERA to 17.42 in three starts. He will look to right the ship Sunday against the Red Sox. 


Trevor Cahill loses second straight for Braves
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:18 pm ET) Braves pitcher Trevor Cahill fell to 0-2 on the season in a loss to the Mets on Tuesday. 

Cahill allowed four runs, three earned, in four innings. The outing improved his ERA to 9.95. Cahill allowed five hits, walked one and struck out one. Cahill threw 41 strikes in 75 pitches. 

Cahill's next start is scheduled for Sunday, against Philadelphia's Jerome Williams. 


Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle picks up third win of the year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:15 pm ET) Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle allowed three runs on eight hits in Toronto's 13-6 win over the Orioles Tuesday. Buehrle worked through the first two innings without an issue before running into problems in the third. He allowed a single to Caleb Joseph before Ryan Flaherty ripped a double to deep center field, bringing in a run.

After Flaherty advanced to third, Steve Pearce grounded out to bring him home.

Buehrle allowed one more run on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning before getting pulled before the seventh. Buehrle, now 3-0 on the year, boasts a 4.00 ERA in three starts. He will look to move to 4-0 Sunday against the Rays.


Jon Niese improves to 2-0 for Mets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(10:14 pm ET) Mets starter Jon Niese moved to 2-0 on the season with a win over Atlanta on Tuesday. 

Niese allowed one run on four hits over six and two thirds innings. He allowed a solo home run to Cameron Maybin for the Braves' only score of the night.

Niese walked four, struck out five and improved his ERA to 1.50. He threw 67 strikes in 106 pitches. His next start is scheduled for Sunday night, against the Yankees and Nathan Eovaldi.


Red Sox closer Koji Uehara earns save in win Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:06 pm ET) Red Sox closer Koji Uehara worked a nearly perfect ninth inning in Boston's 1-0 win over the Rays Tuesday for his second save of the year.

Uehara allowed a leadoff single to Logan Forsythe, but then induced a double play ball from Evan Longoria before getting Desmond Jennings to ground out to end the game. Uehara kept his perfect 0.00 ERA through three innings of work with four strikeouts and no walks to his credit.


Report: Marlins' Christian Yelich (back) to sit out few more days
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:06 pm ET) Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, who was scratched from the lineup Tuesday against the Phillies, is expected to sit out a few more days due to lower back tightness, reports Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

"It's pretty locked up right now," Yelich said.

Yelich, who signed a seven-year, $49.57 million contract extension before the start of the season, has struggled to make his presence felt at the plate. He is batting .200 (9 for 45) with one double, four RBI, a stolen base, four walks and 13 strikeouts in 11 games.


 
 
 
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