Ryan Braun is finally suspended for alleged PED use, after cutting a deal with Major League Baseball on July 22. Braun would have been suspended last year, yet a technicality on the handling of his drug test lifted his proposed 50-game suspension. But with the former MVP linked to the Biogenesis scandal, Braun had to make a deal for a mere 65-game ban that will end his 2013 season, rather than wait for more severe discipline.
Although it could have been worse, Braun’s punishment is among the most severe in baseball history under the drug policy. Yet with Alex Rodriguez’s fate still up in the air over Biogenesis, along with potential repeat offenders Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon, a 65-game suspension could be pretty minor by comparison soon.
For now, here is where Braun stands on the list of the greatest drug offenders in baseball history. Only three of them reached the triple digits in their suspensions, but they may not stand alone for much longer.
Manny Ramirez – 100 games
After receiving a 50-game suspension while with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009, Ramirez joined the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 — and was found guilty of another drug violation just days into the season. Ramirez became the first repeat offender in baseball to receive a 100-game suspension, yet he promptly retired before he served it — although he is currently trying to return to baseball anyway with the Texas Rangers.
Guillermo Mota – 100 games
Mota became the second player to test positive twice under the revised steroid policy in 2012. His first offense came with the New York Mets at the end of the 2006 season, but five years of officially staying clean didn’t buy Mota any leeway. The soon-to-be 40-year-old reliever hasn’t played for the San Francisco Giants or anyone else since.
Bud Selig suspends Angel Rocha
Angel Rocha – 100 games
Rocha never played a game in the big league, but he still went down in the record books. Commissioner Bud Selig suspended the Arizona Diamondbacks’ prospect for 100 games in 2006 for a second violation, making him the first repeat offender to get 100 games under the tougher policy.
Neifi Perez – 80 games
Perez was suspended repeatedly for amphetamine use in 2007 with the Detroit Tigers, although suspension policies were different back then. A second positive test in July 2007 only got Perez suspended for 25 games, yet a third test just one month later landed him an 80 game ban.
Ryan Braun – 65 games
Braun was officially suspended on July 22 for the rest of the season and the postseason. With 65 games left in the Milwaukee Brewers’ season, and no chance for the playoffs, Braun avoided breaking the 100 game record for the moment.
Bartolo Colon – 50 games
18 players have received 50 game suspensions as first time drug offenders since 2006. Colon is a special case, since he tested positive in 2012 and has been linked to Biogenesis anyway. If he gets a 100 game ban or more for being a repeat offender, and if the suspension sticks this season, it could severely harm the Oakland Athletics since Colon’s 13-3 record has propelled them into first place.
Melky Cabrera – 50 games
Cabrera is another special case with a Biogenesis connection. His 50 game ban last summer came after he had an MVP-level first half for the Giants – and won MVP of the All-Star Game. While the Giants won the World Series without him, his first half work still helped get them there, despite how it was tainted. But if he is disciplined again, it won’t affect the last place Toronto Blue Jays as much, although it may destroy Cabrera’s second/last chance.