Ramon Laureano suspended eighty games after positive PED test

Major League Baseball announced this afternoon that the track and field outfielder Ramon laureano was suspended for eighty games without pay after testing positive for nandrolone, a banned performance enhancing substance. He will miss the rest of the season. The As’s still have 53 games to play in 2021, so Laureano’s suspension will also continue for the first 27 games of the 2022 campaign – minus any 2021 playoff games Oakland is in, which are understood as games served for suspension purposes.

Laureano posted a declaration via the MLB Players Association:

I would never knowingly ingest a prohibited substance and endanger the game I have loved all my life. When I found out that I had tested positive for nandrolone, I was shocked. I take great care of my body and have an extremely regulated diet. Based on the tiny amount that was briefly in my body, I learned that it was probably contamination from something I had ingested. … I would like to apologize for the distraction this may cause my teammates, Billy Beane, David Forst and the entire organization, community and Oakland fans. I am devastated. Anyone who really knows me as a person knows how much I love the game and that I would never intentionally do something like this.

It’s a devastating blow for the A’s, who drag the Astros by four games in AL West. Oakland currently holds a 1.5-game lead over the Yankees for last place in the American League playoffs, with the Blue Jays and Mariners also following suit. The A’s will need to hold onto their position in the standings (and make a potential playoff push) without one of their best players.

Laureano has been an average or better hitter over his four seasons in the big leagues. The 27-year-old has a .246 / .317 / .443 (114 wRC +) quality line on 378 home plate appearances this season. The year-round starting Oakland center fielder, he had recently moved to right fielder to adjust to acquiring the trade deadline Starling marte.

Especially important now is the acquisition of Marte by the A’s from the Marlins. (It is not clear whether the Oakland front office was aware of Laureano’s positive test at the time, although today’s suspension announcement likely comes after Laureano exhausted the process of ‘call). Marte will continue to run down center every day, but the corner outfield is now a major question mark.

The As gave decent corner playing time to each of the Marc Canha, Seth brown, Stephen Piscotty, Tony kemp and Chad Pinder (currently on the hamstring injury list) this season. Canha will have a locked outfield corner every night, but it looks like Oakland will have to mix and match at the other place – as they had to do before acquiring Marte in the first place. Utility Josh harrison gets the start in left field (with Canha on the right) tonight against the Rangers.

The timing of the suspension also appears to have a big impact on Laureano. Players who violate the MLB – MLBPA Joint Agreement are placed on the shortlist and do not receive MLB service time for the duration of their suspension. Laureano entered the season with 2,059 years of service in the big league. Prior to today’s suspension, he racked up around 128 days of MLB service in 2021, bringing his career total to around 3,015 currently.

That will be more than enough for Laureano to reach arbitration as scheduled this winter, but he also won’t be receiving any service time while he serves the remainder of the ban next season. Under the A provisional calendar 2022Laureano would be eligible to return to roster for the Oakland game against the Guardians on April 30. Assuming he remains on the roster for the remainder of the season (which runs through October 2), he would total 156 days of service.

By that estimate, he would wrap up the season at 3.171 years of MLB service, one day below the 3.172 threshold required to push him into four full seasons. In this scenario, Laureano’s journey to free agency would be delayed by an entire year, as he would be eligible for arbitration four times and would not reach the free market until after the 2025 season – instead of after. the 2024 campaign as it had been the case. the wait before today.

It should be noted that these estimates are not official, and there is also the issue of the playoffs to consider. If the A’s were successful in the playoffs this year, it would allow Laureano to come back before April 30, 2022. In that case, he would be able to rack up enough serving time to pass the four-year mark next season, the keep on pace for free agency during the 2024-25 offseason.

It’s a unique storyline that could have significant ramifications for Laureano and the A’s at some point. In the shorter term, the main goal of the organization will be to continue to hold a playoff spot without one of its best players.

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