The elephant in the room
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There's an elephant in the room and its name is Biogenesis.

But you already knew that, right Ryan Braun fantasy owners?

Braun and a host of other major leaguers, including three-time MVP Alex Rodriguez and 2005 Cy Young award winner Bartolo Colon, could be facing suspensions from their involvement in Tony Bosch's now closed Biogenesis clinic in Miami.

Translation: they juiced (allegedly) and now it's time for them to pay the piper.

These punishments could be handed down right after the All-Star break, according to ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish.

This news has some fantasy owners trembling in their boots.

Drug busts of this nature usually don't end well. Any number of Quentin Tarantino or Martin Scorsese movies would confirm this.

But I think as long as everyone stays positive, we can all get through this. Here are five things fantasy owners should keep in mind regarding the latest Biogenesis developments.

1. Now is the perfect time to trade for Ryan Braun: I know it sounds crazy but bear with me for a second. Let's say you've got a spare part sitting around, an extra outfielder or a utility guy like Alex Gordon or Hunter Pence. Maybe throw in a Desmond Jennings or a Torii Hunter to sweeten the deal.

On the surface that looks like a ridiculously uneven trade, and it is, but what leverage do Braun owners really have right now? The guy's about to be suspended for 100 games. Or so we think.

The truth is, this thing's not gonna be sorted out for a long time. It could be September before all this is set in stone.

The worst that could happen is you'll only have Braun for a couple months and hey that's not so bad. The guy's a top-three fantasy talent when he's healthy and you didn't give up that much to get him.

Braun's fantasy value has NEVER been lower than it is right now and it probably never will be. Some dumb as a rock fantasy owner will be desperate enough to make this trade. Trust me. So low-ball away.

2. Don't take the bait: That's one scenario. Now here's another. Let's say YOU are the lucky one with Ryan Braun on your roster.

First off, kudos to you for picking a high character guy with no prior involvement in any PED scandals.

That's sarcasm, of course. Buy hey, I'm no angel. I paid $36 for Braun in my keeper league this past March. Oops.

Anyway, now that you have him, you may as well hold onto him. The suspensions may be imminent but remember there's this thing called the Players Association and they're going to fight this thing pretty hard. Heck, they may even get it reversed. It's happened before (to Braun, ironically enough).

Because of the scope of this (it's arguably the biggest drug bust in sports history), the appeals process is going to be extremely thorough. Even if Braun gets suspended tomorrow, I doubt he'd miss a game until August at the earliest.

If we know anything about the league offices it's that "quick" and "decision" are not in their vocabulary. Earlier this year it took these clowns almost a week to figure out that Ian Kennedy was in the wrong for intentionally throwing at Zack Greinke's head.

I know you're probably feeling jittery about all this 100-game suspension talk but now is not the time to let another owner pull a fast one on you.

But if you can pull a fast one on somebody else (which is exactly what I suggested a few paragraphs earlier) by all means do that. Hey, whatever it takes to win the league, right?

3. Have a backup plan: It probably won't happen right away but there is still an excellent chance that Braun and company are getting suspended. I don't think Bud Selig or anyone else is feeling that much sympathy for Braun and A- Rod, who have both faced PED allegations before.

Panicking rarely pays dividends in fantasy but it definitely won't hurt you to have a backup plan. If you can add an outfielder in a trade or on the waiver wire as an insurance policy, why wouldn't you? It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Fantasy at its core is about minimizing risk. Remember that.

4. You got yourself into this mess: I could have alternately labeled this section "I got myself into this mess."

We didn't know guys like Nelson Cruz or Everth Cabrera would be involved but Braun and Rodriguez have been linked to the Biogenesis clinic since February.

We all knew the risk associated with these players on draft day. Yet we took them anyway because, hey, they're really good baseball players.

Am I really going to pass on a top-five fantasy player because he "might" be suspended "sometime" during the year? It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to do that.

We've all been there. Every year there's a player like this in the draft and every time, we hope for the same thing: that someone else will take that headache first so we won't have to.

Fantasy owners can protect themselves somewhat by taking that player later in the draft than they normally would have but really, there isn't a whole lot you can do except hope for the best.

5. Does it really matter? Here's something I've been thinking about. Has it occurred to anyone else that Braun and A-Rod have already missed most of this season anyway?

Braun's been in and out of the lineup all year with thumb and back issues and A-Rod hasn't played in a game since October after undergoing offseason hip surgery.

Even when Braun (.304, 9 HR, 36 RBI in 58 games) has been on the field, he's been outperformed by his teammates Jean Segura (.319, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 27 SB) and Carlos Gomez (.303, 13 HR, 42 RBI, 21 SB). One hundred and fifty six players are ahead of Braun on ESPN's player rater right now including 44 outfielders.

By and large, Braun has been a disappointment this year. So I repeat, what is the big deal?

Good riddance. Let them suspend Braun and A-Rod. It won't make much of a difference.

I'm glad we addressed that elephant in the room.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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