It’s Yu Darvish bid day (the deadline for bids is 4pm CT today), but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll hear anything today. Darvish’s team has four business days to decide whether to accept the highest bid, so the winner may not be revealed until late Tuesday of next week. Much more on Darvish, Prince Fielder, and a couple Venezuelan pitchers later today. Until then, Bullets…
- Speaking of Prince Fielder, agent Scott Boras’ efforts to get the best deal for Fielder includes the production and distribution of a 73-page book about the free agent first baseman. “The homage to Fielder is encased in a silver aluminum antimicrobial binder and features black cardstock dividers, metal rivets and the Boras company logo emblazoned in the lower left-hand corner of the cover.” At least Boras isn’t spending all of his commission on gold shoes.
- FanGraphs’ fantasy section is telling fantasy baseball players not to expect Brett Jackson to be called up until May/June, which, given the current construct of the outfield, may even be a bit on the early side. Much could change between now and Spring Training, of course. Spending some extra time in AAA probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for Jackson, as much as we might want to see him.
- Jeff Passan reiterates that, if MLB had any doubt at all about Ryan Braun’s positive test for a performance-enhancing drug, it wouldn’t have proceeded against one of its most popular, visible, and see-how-good-you-can-be-even-while-clean players. “’People say a lot of things,’ said the source familiar with the case. “If this was unlike any other case ever and was so screwed up, do you think it would go to arbitration?’ Indeed, MLB had its chance to dump the Braun case. Part of its joint drug agreement with the players’ union calls for a meeting after the confirmation of a positive from the second sample. If both parties agree there is no reason to proceed – whether because of a chain-of-custody problem or another circumstance – they can overturn the suspension. MLB didn’t.”
- The only professional baseball player who has ever successfully appealed a positive PED test is a former teammate of Braun’s. Minor leaguer Brendan Katin, and former Miami Hurricane teammate of Braun’s, was deemed to have tested positive in 2007 after a urine sample showed elevated levels of testosterone, like Braun. The difference? In Katin’s case, his second sample, which was at that time tested only in the event of a positive on the first sample, showed no traces of any synthetic testosterone. Braun’s test did show a synthetic testosterone – i.e., one that is not produced by the human body. (Random aside: that Brewers.com article was written by Carrie Muskat.)
- Speaking of drug tests and the testosterone trigger, BALCO frontman Victor Conte, who knows a thing or two about this area, says there are steroids players can take at the end of the day, which, by the next day when a random drug test might occur, will not keep testosterone elevated in the body above the MLB test threshold.
- Yesterday, the Cubs were noted as having potential interest in recently non-tendered first baseman/outfielder Luke Scott as a possible back-up plan at first base next year. In response, a reader passed along this article about Scott’s personality, views, etc. After reading, I now remember seeing that ‘Outside the Lines’ on Scott, and thinking, “whoa, this guy’s a little off.” Sure would make for a lot to discuss, though…
- Aramis Ramirez’s deal with the Brewers is almost unbelievably back-loaded. On the three-year, $36 million deal, Ramirez will receive just $6 million in 2012, $10 million in 2013 and $16 million in 2014. And then there is a $4 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015. On a team like the Brewers, that $20 million obligation in 2014 could be absolutely crippling. But, that’s not all: $6 million of the $36 million contract will be deferred until 2014. That means $26 million of the $36 million contract could come due in one calendar year. By then, that figure could be 1/3 of the Brewers’ payroll. I’d say it’s pretty clear that the Brewers’ window of competitiveness is this and next year. And then, wilderness.
- Bruce Levine says the Ramirez signing tips the scales in favor of the Brewers in the NL Central this year, which I suppose is technically correct. The Cardinals lose Albert Pujols, but get Adam Wainwright back next year. The Cubs have, so far, gotten slightly worse this offseason. What about the Reds? They slumped late last year, but they still look decent on paper.