Blowing Out the Colon; The Rest of the A's Season

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 18: Bob Melvin #6 of the Oakland Athletics talks to Bartolo Colon #21 on the pitchers mound during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at O.co Coliseum on August 18, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Update: Tyson Ross is being called up to spot start for Colon. - Zonis

Bartolo Colon has been suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy according to Jon Heyman, which effectively means that he will be out the rest of the season. Colon tested positive for Testosterone, the same substance that Giant Melky Cabrera tested positive for recently. Colon had essentially resurrected his career in Oakland, after getting a stem cell shoulder treatment overseas during the off season. Colon, who had a 3.43 ERA (3.83 FIP) and accumulated 2.4 WAR for the A’s this season, was on track for a comeback player of the year award. The light of this suspension, on the heels of another Bay Area club drug violation in Melky Cabrera, means that the drama llama is most definitely following the Bay Area home, after years of BALCO and other steroid scandals.

On the actual effect of Colon’s suspension on the team, less morale, the effect will not necessarily be large. The A’s are relatively insulated against losing starting pitchers, having done without Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy most to all of the season, and with the return of both, the rotation hd been overflowing with talent, pushing Dan Straily back to AAA and Travis Blackley back to the bullpen. With Colon’s absence, Straily will most likely be recalled when he is able, with Blackley filling in till Straily can be recalled, if necessary.

The ancillary effect on the A’s off the field will be the greatest problem. That the A’s decided to hold on to Colon at the trading deadline because they ‘could not get an offer that was more valuable to them than Colon’, now looks like they knew that Colon had failed a test, and did not want to trade the pitcher only for the blow back of dealing a suspended player.

In the off season, assuming that Colon signs elsewhere, it is also debatable whether the A’s will receive any compensation for Colon, whereas they most likely would have if he had stayed healthy, unsuspended, and continued to have a good year.

But the most damaging result of this is the black mark that has risen again over the Bay Area. Once again, the Bay has become the steroid hangout, and the land of PED scandals. After the McGuire/Bonds/Canseco/BALCO eras of steroid controversy, it was thought that those days were behind us. I fear what this news will do to Bay Area sports going forward.

And worst of all, we can no longer make fun of the Giants for Melky Cabrera, only sit with them in shame.

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