The Winter Meetings were last week, but the action figures to continue this week in earnest. There will be a Lukewarm Stove, a separate Prince Fielder update, and a discussion of today’s tender deadline later today. Until then, Bullets…
- Ryan Braun’s lawyer is adding to the chorus of folks saying, effectively, that Braun’s reported positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, which could leave the Brewers without their best player for 50 games, is “B.S.”: “He did not take performance-enhancing drugs, and anyone who writes that is wrong.” Gotta love the word “reported.” Or “allegedly.” Safety first.
- The same article quotes a source close to Braun who says the levels of testosterone purportedly shown in Braun’s test were “insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken.” This, the Braun camp will say, suggests something was wonky with the test, but won’t necessarily be used as direct evidence in the appeal (after all, it is evidence only of the fact that Braun had a ton of something in his system, and circumstantial evidence that someone could have polluted his test). Instead, it sounds like they plan to rely on the he-didn’t-know-and-had-no-reason-to-know-what-he-was-taking defense. Though legit, I’m not aware of that defense yet working in any of these sport-steroid type cases, baseball or otherwise.
- Yesterday we discussed the Cubs’ striking lack of television revenue relative to other large market teams, and BN’er Section 409 found a great article from 2009 when the Ricketts took over the Cubs. Obviously, the numbers might have increased slightly since then, but here’s the breakdown: the Cubs netted about $75 million in broadcast rights in 2009. But that figure includes about $28 million in payments from the league for MLB’s national package, and about $5 million in radio rights. That puts the Cubs’ dedicated TV revenues well under $50 million annually. To re-emphasize: the Angels just got $150 million annually. Here’s hoping these brutal contracts do indeed expire by 2016, if not sooner.
- The Cleveland Indians are going to sign former top Cubs prospect Felix Pie to a minor league deal. Pie got the impatient treatment from the Cubs, with aggressive promotions that saw him reach AAA by 21. He debuted with the Cubs at 22, and was miserably bad. The Cubs dumped him on the Orioles (where all former Cubs prospects go to die), and he was almost average for a couple years in part-time duty. But he reverted to misery last year, and now he’ll have to try his hand with the Indians. After all of that, it’s amazing that he’s still just 26.
- Kerry Wood is hosting an event on January 13 (during the Cubs Convention) at Harry Caray’s Tavern, where you can be served your appletini by a Chicago Cubs player. The proceeds of the event, which features music and food and all that good stuff, will benefit the Kerry Wood Family Foundation. Details here.