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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
New Dodgers SP Alex Wood to make team debut, start Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(7:56 pm ET) Alex Wood will make his Dodgers debut when he starts Tuesday's game against the Phillies, according to ESPN.com. The left-hander was acquired from the Braves on Thursday as part of a three-team deal. He was 7-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 20 starts with the Braves prior to the trade.


Dodgers 3B Justin Turner placed on 15-day DL with skin infection
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(7:50 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a skin infection on his right thigh. Turner was sent to the emergency room on Tuesday when a pimple on his leg developed into an infection.

The move to the DL is retroactive to Tuesday. 


Phillies place newly-acquired Matt Harrison on disabled list
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7:44 pm ET) The Phillies placed left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison on the 15-day disabled list, per the News Journal.

Harrison was just acquired by the Phillies, from Texas, for Cole Hamels. He hadn't appeared in a game for the team. He's suffering from lower back inflammation. 


Dodgers CF Joc Pederson sits on Friday amid struggles
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:27 pm ET) Struggling Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson is not in the starting lineup for Friday's matchup with the Angels. Pederson, who was recently moved out of the lead-off spot in the order, will take a seat with left-hander Hector Santiago on the mound for the Halos.

Pederson, who has just six hits in his last 33 at-bats, is hitting .233 with three home runs against southpaws this season. The rookie center fielder was held hitless over his last three games.

Enrique Hernandez will replace Pederson in left field and bat eighth on Friday.


Orioles DFA Chris Parmelee to make room for Gerardo Parra
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:24 pm ET) Outfielder Gerardo Parra reported to the Orioles and will be active on Friday, the team announced.

Parra was acquired from Milwaukee at the trade deadline. 

To make room, the Orioles designated infielder Chris Parmelee for assignment. Parmelee was hitting .216 for the Orioles this season. 


Dodgers' Scott Van Slyke in the starting lineup Friday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:23 pm ET) Dodgers outfielder Scott Van Slyke has returned to the starting lineup for Friday's matchup with the Angels. Van Slyke hadn't started a game since July 24 due to a neck injury.

He was used as a pinch-hitter a couple of times this week, and he has made his way back into the lineup as the starting left fielder and clean-up hitter on Friday.


Dodgers 3B Justin Turner still out of action on Friday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:19 pm ET) Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner remains out of the starting lineup due to a skin infection on his leg. Turner will miss his third straight game with the issue which put him in the emergency room on Tuesday.

His current condition has not been revealed by the team, and it is not known when he is expected to return to the lineup.

Alex Guerrero will get another start at the hot corner on Friday against the Angels. 


Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw scratched; Greinke to fill in Friday
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(6:16 pm ET) Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw was scratched from yet another scheduled start on Friday, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Kershaw is dealing with a lingering hip injury, which caused him to miss his originally scheduled start on Wednesday. He went through pre-game workouts that included throwing off the mound and flat ground, but was scratched shortly after playing catch on the flat surface.

Zack Greinke will fill in for Kershaw on Friday and take on the Angels in their cross-town matchup. He has a .036 ERA with 45 strikeouts and just two runs allowed over his last 50 2/3 innings.


Pirates DFA Deolis Guerra to make room for Joakim Soria
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:12 pm ET) The Pirates added reliever Joakim Soria to the active roster before Friday's game. Soria was acquired in a deal before the non-waiver trade deadline. 

To make room for Soria, the Pirates designated pitcher Deolis Guerra for assignment, the team announced

Guerra was 2-0, with a 6.48 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the Pirates. 

Soria was 3-1 with a 2.85 ERA and 23 saves for the Tigers. 


Pirates recall RP Bobby LaFromboise from Triple-A
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:04 pm ET) The Pirates have recalled left-hander Bobby LaFromboise from Triple-A Indianapolis. The left-hander had an earlier stint with the Pirates, pitching a scoreless inning of relief back in May.

He is 1-1 with a 2.72 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 42 appearances at Triple-A this season. He will take the roster spot of A.J. Burnett, who was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday.


 
 
 
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