MLB may finally have found their "smoking gun" to link around 20 players for using performance-enhancing drugs. With the Detroit Tigers' Jhonny Peralta being linked to this scandal, an argument could be made that the Tigers could be the biggest loser out of all the major league teams.
This latest news came from a report on June 4 by ESPN's Pedro Gomez and T.J. Quinn mentioning that the founder of Biogenesis, Tony Bosch, has decided to tell MLB everything and directly link specific players to PEDs.
For the record, this is all speculation at this point, but if it is true then MLB is expected to suspend all the players involved between 50-to-100 games. The biggest names that are facing suspension on the list are former MVPs Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. However, the Tigers have the most to lose this season, if Peralta is suspended.
Peralta, has been looking like a strong candidate to play in the All-Star Game, but now could be focused on fighting for his reputation as he approaches free agency after this season.
While Peralta's lack of range is widely acknowledged, his fielding ability on the balls he gets to is extremely underrated. Peralta is one of the more sure-handed shortstops in baseball and is consistently at the top of the statistics for best fielding percentage. So while fans always want to find a stronger defensive replacement, not too many shortstops bring to the table what Peralta can do.
This is why the Tigers should be worried with ESPN's report. Of all the teams with players on the list, the Tigers and the Texas Rangers with Nelson Cruz are the two teams most impacted by a potential suspension. Both are strong World Series contenders and a suspension would require each team to take unique steps to ensure they don't regress.
The Tigers don't have a strong internal candidate to replace Peralta so chances are likely they would need to enter the trade market. This past offseason the Tigers were thought to be interested in Stephen Drew to replace Peralta, but Drew signed with the Boston Red Sox instead.
Now, with teams knowing that the Tigers need to make a move, the price could be a lot higher and require a player like pitcher Rick Porcello in return.
Even if Peralta, who is hitting .338 in 53 games, only faces a 50-game suspension, it wouldn't be a guarantee that he could continue hitting where he left off. Thus, it would be a huge gamble by the Tigers.
As to be expected, Peralta and the Tigers aren't commenting on this latest news. On June 4, when Peralta was asked by MLive.com's James Schmehl about the ESPN story, he replied, "I'm playing baseball right now, and that’s my focus, to play right now. I don’t really try to pay attention to what they say right now. I try to play this game."
Schmehl also added that the Tigers didn't have any comments on the report either.
There is a slight chance that Peralta may potentially escape a suspension. SI.com's Tom Verducci wrote on Feb 6 that Peralta wasn't directly tied to the initial PED list. Yet, no one knows if Bosch will link Peralta directly with the PEDs when he speaks with MLB and that is a giant concern.
However, with so many unknowns this report has the potential to rock the baseball world and it could be felt the greatest in Detroit.
*All statistics are accurate as of June 5.
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