How the Biogenesis suspensions could help the Yankees, and hurt the Mets
The big news broken by ESPN on Tuesday night, that Major League Baseball would seek to suspend roughly 20 players with ties to the Biogenesis clinic run by Tony Bosch, thanks to evidence provided by Bosch himself, will mean very different things to the two New York baseball teams.
The fascinating part is that while the highest-profile player involved, Alex Rodriguez, plays for the Yankees, Bosch's cooperation probably has greater negative consequences for the Mets, whose known participant in Bosch's notes, Cesar Puello, is largely unknown, even to Mets fans.
For the Yankees, the idea that M.L.B. would suspend Rodriguez, reportedly for as many as 100 games, doesn't dramatically change their on-field plans. Rodriguez will be 38 in July and returning from major hip surgery, and his replacement, Kevin Youkilis, wasn't signed with a month or two in mind, but the whole season.
A Rodriguez suspension would mean, presumably, a huge financial windfall for the Yankees. One hundred games is roughly 62 percent of the season, so if those games are all in 2013, that's the equivalent of $17.2 million the Yankees wouldn't have to pay Rodriguez. The suspension would essentially cover the costs of Mariano Rivera, who will make $10 million in 2013 and Phil Hughes, who will make $7.15 million.
As for the Mets, just because Puello isn't a household name doesn't mean he isn't important to their effort to put a winning team on the field sometime soon. As you may have heard, the team's outfield is terrible this season. Moreover, there aren't many candidates to make it better at Triple-A, while some doubts persist about Cory Vaughn's ability to make enough contact to play regularly at the major league level.
Puello, however, has shot up (so to speak) prospect lists by converting his enviable tools into skills this season for Double-A Binghamton. He's now hitting .312/.390/.555 at age 22, with 15 steals in 18 attempts, drawing comparisons to Carlos Gomez, a former Mets prospect now starring for the Milwaukee Brewers.
If Puello simply continues to hit like this, he's a good bet to earn a promotion to Triple-A, and shortly thereafter, the Mets. That makes him as good a candidate as anyone to help the team's outfield situation in 2014. They'll still need two others, but Puello is a start.
A suspended Puello, though, would see his breakout season stunted, and need to prove himself all over again at Double-A and Triple-A ahead of 2014. Worse yet, the dismal situation in the outfield could lead to the Mets rushing Puello, precisely the mistake they made with Gomez.
With Bob Klapisch writing that many big names beyond the ones already reported are still to come out, there's every chance the effect a widespread suspension would have on the two teams could be larger than what we currently know, though the Mets would seem to be pretty much in the clear, unless Matt Harvey, David Wright or Zack Wheeler appears on the list.
But so far, the Yankees look like they might just be the big winners from the league's vigorous pursuit of Biogenesis, by getting their onerous contract with Alex Rodriguez subsidized a bit.
Elsewhere in New York sports:
A three-run homer from Mark Teixeira helped the Yankees beat Scott Kazmir and the Indians, 4-3.
A rare poor outing from Bobby Parnell let the Nationals edge the Mets, 3-2.
At an announcement of a sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines, Cosmos club chairman Seamus O'Brien talked about an ongoing dialogue with M.L.S. commissioner Don Garber.