ryan-braun-failNo podcast today, as we had to push recording back to later today. But it’ll be worth it, as we’ve got another great guest lined up …

  • Ryan Braun’s name popped up last night in a very Brewerfreudian way. That clinic out of Miami, where Tony Bosch was allegedly distributing performance-enhancing drugs to MLB players, among other athletes? Well, Yahoo reported that Braun’s name popped up on one of the lists out of that clinic. J’accuse! Well, it isn’t quite as sexy as it first sounded, if you believe Braun, that is. The Brewers star says the only reason his name is on a Bosch list is because he used the guy as an expert when he successfully appealed a PED suspension last year. Query why Bosch was “known to” Braun’s lawyers as a good expert on these matters, and query whether it’s just a coincidence that one of Bosch’s biggest alleged connections is to the University of Miami baseball program, where Braun spent his college days. In any event, that’s all we’ve got right now – coincidence, innuendo, suspicion, and that positive test in 2011.
  • I suppose, if nothing else, it’s got to be a distraction for Braun and the Brewers. Of course, all Braun did last season after the whole positive test fiasco was put up MVP-caliber numbers once again, so maybe he’s undistractable.
  • Theo Epstein did a couple of radio spots yesterday, and I covered the ESPN Radio version in depth, in case you missed it. He also hopped on with Mully and Hanley on the Score, and BN’er Mike helpfully passed along the audio. Theo hit on many of the same topics in both interviews, but added a few thoughts in the Score piece. Among them: Anthony Rizzo is going to have to do the adjust-to-adjustments thing this year; this year’s scouting season hasn’t even gotten underway yet (the amateur seasons haven’t started), so there’s a long way to go before the Draft; Theo did say he expects the Cubs’ draft to be pitching-heavy once again this year; the Cubs have been up front with Alfonso Soriano that, if a great trade offer came along they would have that conversation internally and with him, but that hasn’t happened yet this offseason; and Theo said essentially the same thing about Carlos Marmol.
  • Jeff Samardzija is happy that HGH testing is coming to baseball.
  • A profile on Cubs outfield prospect Matt Szczur, who recognizes just how important the 2013 season is going to be for his future in the organization.
  • Recent Cubs minor league signee Yeiper Castillo pitched in the Caribbean Series last night, which was televised, and if Harry Pavlidis is to be believed – and he is – Castillo didn’t look at that impressive.
  • Want to design a commemorative logo celebrating Wrigley Field’s 100th anniversary next year? Well, the Cubs are looking for you to do just that.
  • For those interested, BN’er John tabulated the team totals from Keith Law’s top 100 prospect list yesterday, and among the results – the Cubs and Reds had four guys on the list, while the Pirates and Cardinals had five (the Brewers had just one). The Twins and Padres were the only teams with more than five, with seven and six, respectively. The Cubs had more prospects in the 26 to 50 range (3) than any other team. No team had more than two in the top 25 (Indians, Twins, Mariners, Marlins, Mets, Cardinals, and Pirates).
  • CubFan Paul

    Kind of shady of the newspaper to withhold PED names, only to sell them off to Yahoo! and whoever else tomorrow.

  • EQ76

    Sounds like the Brewers would be better off signing Lloyd Braun instead.

    • Hatfield

      Does Lloyd Braun’s contract come with a bonus water pik?

    • DanielSon

      He should consult Jackie Chiles

    • macpete22

      Only if he brings some of that gum

  • Stinky Pete

    And I wonder how many times he yelled “Serenity Now!!!” in the past week knowing his name was on their books and knowing the S*&^storm was going to hit eventually. Dude must have been on pins and needles.

    • hansman1982

      We know what’s going to be a topic during his Airing of Grievances…

      • EQ76

        well we know he has an unfair advantage during the “feats of strength”

        • hansman1982

          Ya, the Council for Human Efforts And Theoretical Erroneous Reporting, Festivus Division, really needs to clamp down on testing.

          Last year, a man was killed with a trident.

  • abe

    even if braun is telling the truth it looks pretty bad that he knew who to call to talk about riods.

  • Mat B.

    I’m hoping Szczur really proves himself this year. He keeps doing the things everyone wants him to do (getting on base,stealing bases, scoring runs and improving defense) and yet everyone seems to be writing him off.

    • ETS

      Vitters pretty well tore up AAA as a 22 year old and everyone has pretty well written him off as well.

      • Mat B.

        True, and I thought Vitters did some things on defense last year that some people didn’t think he was capable of.

        • ETS

          whenever I saw him at iowa his defense looked very suspect.

          • Cedlandrum

            yeah he isn’t very good. I think he could be, but mechanically he gets out of whack. He stands to straight up and down. Not an athletic stance to throw from.

            • Mick

              It could be that’s what he’s working on this winter and part of what he meant by saying that he’s been working a lot on his core. I’ve still got hope for Vitters but his uphill climb seems so much more steep than some of our other prospects.

          • Mat B.

            I guess all we can do is hope he puts it together and displaces Stewart & Valbuena.

        • Jimmy James

          Same here, I’m still a big vitters guy but the red flags are going up due to theo and Jed’s extreme interest in third base prospects of the same age and level of josh.

    • Cedlandrum

      Szczur’s numbers last year in Daytona were better then I remember. The criticism from the year before was that he wasn’t being selective enough. Last year he did very well drawing 61BB. He also improved his baserunning stealing 42 bags. His power took a step back, but I scratch my head to see how he has been downgraded by so many talent evaluators.

      • Mat B.

        That is my point, exactly. I think he could be a starting center fielder for the Cubs (probably 2014). I think he has the potential to hit .270 with a good OBP & hit 10-15 HRs. Who wouldn’t take that from their center fielder?

        • AB

          I like Szczur, but I don’t think there’s any chance he consistently hits 10-15 home runs a season.

          • Mat B

            If Barney can hit 7, Szczur can hit 10-15

        • DocPeterWimsey

          These days, the 8-10 teams getting better OPS than that.

      • MightyBear

        The problem with Szczur is his swing. Major league pitchers would eat him alive with his swing according to the experts. He has to adjust. Where’s Kyle? He’s the one who can tell you about Szczur’s swing.

        • Mat B.

          It seems they have some confidence that Jackson can rework his swing. Why wouldn’t they display the same confidence in Szczur?

  • Morken

    There’s a reason Castillo cleared waivers and Bellveau didn’t.

    Bellveau is the pitcher who’s potential the Cubs may miss. Castillo’s potential is masked in his arm, and will tease teams for years to come, but it’s never likely to manifest past the “potential” faze.

    • ETS

      I have seen belliveau pitch plenty. My guess is we will never miss him.

      • MikeW


      • Morken

        17.2 innings = plenty?

  • BluBlud

    I feel Braun might be telling the truth about the reason his name was on this individual piece of paper, along with his lawyers name, but all the connections, along with his failsed test is still pretty odd.

    • Whiteflag

      Definitely odd. His lawyers name appearing on the list does make his story “slightly believable.” But the connections, failed test, and my natural distaste for all things Wisconsin (except beverages) is just too much. He’s a fraud.

      • TonyP

        You are a Stateist!!!!!!!! :-)

        • Whiteflag

          Haha….aren’t you?

          • TonyP

            I was born in Kenosha but grew up in Kansas (right on the borders of MO, AR, and OK) so your point is taken. HA

    • hogie

      20-30 thousand dollars is what he was on the books for. I’m not familiar with the practice, but that seems really steep for a one time consult. Why not talk to a doctor? Like you said, add this to the past and it seems more than odd to me.

  • cubzforlife

    If Braun ends up with a HOF career Lloyd has a better chance of getting in. And for this I am grateful. Serenity now!

    • cub2014

      the cubs lost belliveau and i think Batista (he is the one we might really miss)
      anyone else they lost this year?

  • Idaho Razorback

    Lloyd Braun and the Alex Theatre. He’s insane to buy that hot dog.

  • TonyP

    I hope Braun gets it one day. He should have been suspended last year instead of getting off on a technicality.

  • ncsujuri

    He most certainly cheated in the past and was caught but got off on a technicality as TonyP mentioned…don’t think its far fetched in the least to suspect that he has/is cheating again when his name comes up in connection with a dude who isn’t even a Dr. and is providing ‘healing’ to world class athletes…Sketchy with a capital SKETCH

  • Jim

    MLB really looked bad letting Braun off on the technicality. I hope that they pursue this and find a way to dole out punishment. I wasn’t as mad at Braun for using as I was for him getting off on the technicality. Both were cheats that he got away with.

    • Cubbie Blues

      If I remember correctly. It wasn’t MLB that let him off. MLB was actually not happy with the decision.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      MLB did not let him off. Two of three adjudicators ruled in his favor. The third was MLB’s man, and one of the two was the union’s, so those votes were basically one down and one up, which left it up to the independent arbitrator. MLB retaliated by firing that arbitrator: that was by far the most unethical act involved with this.

      As for why the arbitrator let Braun off, we’ll actually never know: MLB fired him for being independent before he submitted his written report.

  • North Side Irish

    Pearl Jam tickets purchased. Being a Season Ticket Holder finally pays off…

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  • Mike

    Once I was accused of murder, and what really got me off the hook was Charles Manson testifying as a character witness.