As we continue to draw closer and closer to the SLB Keeper Deadline – we’re less than two hours away as I write this – there are still a number of factors that could play into the keeper decisions for a handful of teams.
Today, however, is when predictions go out the window and General Managers must make their official selections.
Some teams have an easy job on keeper day as they possess a trio of no-doubt, slam-dunk, keeper-level players. Other teams are struggling to determine which member of their existing roster has the most breakout potential. Then there are a select few who are combing through the headlines and getting very, very nervous as the deadline approaches.
Here are two interesting bits of MLB news hitting the wires today that could have a major impact on this evening’s announcements.
We’re going to hit the what (is the news) and the who (is impacted):
Wright appears to have strained his intercostal muscle and will be shut down for 3-5 days and re-evaluated. His status for Opening Day is in doubt and given that Ian Desmond missed roughly five weeks with a similar injury last year, it’s not hard to imagine Wright missing a big chunk of April with the injury.
Wright is no stranger to these types of injuries. In addition to the two months he sat out in 2011 with a fractured back—yes, a fractured freakin’ back—Wright missed significant time last spring with a strained left abdominal muscle. That injury eventually required a cortisone shot. An injury of this sort could certainly impact his power when he returns to an already thin Mets lineup.
The Genies—already in a bind over which keepers to go with—are now in a very tough place as the Keeper Deadline looms. Wright is a top tier 3B and easily a top 25 player when he’s healthy, but if the injury lingers and impacts him beyond April, the risk vs reward equation may no longer be in Wright’s favor.
In January, the Miami New Times ran a story linking a number of Major League Baseball players—primarily Alex Rodriguez and Melky Cabrera—to Biogenesis an “anti-aging clinic” in Miami. The belief was that Biogenesis was a front for PED distribution. Since the story broke, a number of additional players have been named outright or linked to Biogenesis.
Thus far MLB has tried, rather unsuccessfully, to get information from the Miami New Times but has yet to punish anyone involved in the situation. That all changed yesterday when minor leaguer Cesar Carrillo was suspended for 100 games (50 for being on the Biogenesis list and 50 for lying to MLB).
It’s now believe d that Major League Baseball is ready to crack down in a big way on the players implicated in the Biogenesis scandal and that includes a small handful of potential keepers; the most obvious being Ryan Braun, Robinson Cano, and Gio Gonzalez. Other players named or implicated at this point include: Rodriguez, Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal, Nelson Cruz, Bartolo Colon, Jhonny Peralta, Danny Valencia, Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, Everth Cabrera, Fernando Martinez, and the aforementioned Carillo among a smattering of other players.
Gonzalez passed a number of tests immediately after the story broke and has been very adamant that he was never a client with Biogenesis, so he may be okay. Cano has mostly been linked to the story by association rather than any hard evidence, so—barring any new information—he should be in the clear. Braun and Rodriguez (both recent keepers for j’s team – coincidence?) figure to be the top two targets in this investigation and could both be in for a long, uphill legal battle if MLB does come out guns-a-blazin’.