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ryan-braun-failIt’s been a while since we’ve taken a stroll around the rest of baseball, which is only for a lack of time, not for a lack of interesting story lines.

  • With Ryan Braun now suspended for the rest of the season on the back of his connection to the (alleged) PED distribution clinic in Miami (colloquially known as the Biogenesis scandal), there is no shortage of outrage by players, media, and fans alike. My reaction is probably more muted, though I do think Braun deserved some serious punishment for both the usage and the lying. A major paper in Milwaukee, however, has an extremely strong reaction: Braun should be released. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writes, collectively, that Brewers ownership should set an example and get rid of Braun (eating his $100 million+ contract in the process). While Braun’s name is undoubtedly tainted in Milwaukee, and it’s hard to see fans re-embracing him any time soon, a release is never, ever going to happen. He’s going to be a productive player next year, and the Brewers are more likely to try and find a new home for him by way of a (money-eating) trade, if they make a move at all. Time has a way of sanitizing these things, and I would be unsurprised if most fans are over this whole thing by late 2014 or early 2015. That may sound like a long time from now, but Braun is under contract through 2020.
  • Speaking of Biogenesis, Alex Rodriguez is obviously the next big thing. His story has taken some crazy turns – the latest of which has MLB reportedly seeking a lifetime ban for ARod (probably hoping he’ll negotiate for a long suspension instead) – and the latest is no disappointment. Apparently the quad strain that ended ARod’s rehab assignment the day before he was due back in the bigs is not a quad strain at all … if you believe the doctor ARod privately solicited to look at his MRI, and then publicly contradict the Yankees’ team doctor. The whole story has so many angles that it’s hard to follow. Will he be banned for life? Will he just be suspended? How long will his appeal last? How injured is he? Do the Yankees even want him back? Will the Yankees save a ton of money if Rodriguez is banned for life? If so, will they privately assist in MLB’s case? I don’t follow the Yankees obsessively, so I don’t know if there are answers out there already to these questions. I just know that I’m glad the Cubs aren’t having to deal with this kind of drama.
  • Jayson Stark writes about how the Trade Deadline has become a dud in recent years, thanks to the combined effect of the new Wild Cards (less sellers), the inability to get draft pick compensation for players traded, and the huge increase in revenue sharing dollars that are allowing smaller market teams to keep their stars.
  • While we might not be able to do much about the third (it is, overall, probably good for baseball), and the second would probably be a hard fought CBA change, the first is something Dave Cameron thinks baseball can fix easily. How? Move the Trade Deadline back. Cameron argues that the July 31 non-waiver deadline has become pretty both arbitrary and harmful in an era with so many playoff teams. Give teams a couple more weeks, at least, to decide whether to buy or sell, and you might see a much more exciting and interesting couple of weeks leading up to the deadline. Thoughts? Would you rather the deadline came in August? It could certainly extend the “life” of the season for bad teams. As it stands for the Cubs – for the last few years – once the calendar flips to August, the season feels, in one sense, already over.
  • Because the Internet is very good at Internetting, here is MLB Player FaceSwap. A Cubs-centric example:

https://twitter.com/MLB_FaceSwap/status/359532887839744001

  • I also kind of love Mat Latos and Jayson Werth:

https://twitter.com/MLB_FaceSwap/status/359915821507678208

  • When it comes to funny baseball stuff, even Major League players get in on the action. Kudos, Ervin Santana:

  • One more item for lulz, here’s Dayan Viciedo representing the White Sox. I love how he not only repeatedly boots the ball, but when he does corral it, he throws it to no one in particular:

  • On The Farm

    Oh man that Viciedo bit really made me chuckle. Awful.

  • cking6178

    The Viciedo “hilight” is GREAT!!! It looks like a little league game, boot the ball – panic – boot the ball again – panic – throw the ball aimlessly in the general direction of the infield!!

    • Mr. B. Patient

      When I was in little league we were told, if in doubt, throw it to the pitcher and let him worry about it.

    • mjhurdle

      It is hard to miss your cutoff when there is not one, but 2 cutoff men wandering aimlessly behind short, but Viciedo found a way.
      Well done sir.

  • frank

    If the deadline is moved back, it’ll certainly change the market for rental pitching–at this point, if a team trades for a starting pitcher near the deadline, they’ll get about 12 starts. If the deadline is moved back 2 weeks they’ll get 8 or 9. That may actually shrink the market when it comes to acquiring starting pitching. Of course, on the other hand, if teams don’t have to give up as much, they may be more willing to make trades.

    • On The Farm

      Or theortically a team like Baltimore could make a trade at the start of July for a starter and then find out a month and a half later (mid-August) that they are now sellers, end up re-dealing their guy they just traded for.

      Just because the deadline would be moved back, doesn’t mean moves still wouldn’t take place in July.

  • Sandberg

    I can think of someone’s wife who would really love it if the trade deadline was moved back. ;)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s my primary motivation …

  • Eric

    If Pete Rose can be banned for life for betting on baseball, ARod should be banned for life for cheating at baseball.

    • MichiganGoat

      Yeah Rose really complicates all this – the great rumor is he agreed to ban with the thought it would be removed in a couple of years then when the Commish changed that was not honored. Here we want have anything like that if ARod gets banned he won’t be behind the move.

      • Tobias

        The Rose situation might be completely different if Giamatti hadn’t died.

        • MichiganGoat

          That’s the conspiracy theory

      • cking6178

        interesting, I never heard that before….never really did any research on the issue either…

    • miggy80

      My question is why didn’t Braun get a lifetime ban?

      • On The Farm

        Isn’t the idea floating around right now that by Braun cutting his “sweetheart” deal, he is giving credibility to Bosch. So in effect Braun is making the case against the other’s that much more likely since Bosch was telling the truth about Braun. It helps the MLB in their pursuit of the others, and Braun gets off “easy”.

        • miggy80

          Oh man, really! I think want to buy a ticket to see him next year just so I tell him he’s a D-bag.

          • On The Farm

            That’s what someone was saying on ESPN radio. It might have been Stark (but it was on Mike and Mike). Braun has done pretty good at protecting himself and making sure he could get the deal. I can only assume that while Braun is on his suspension he will be selling used cars because he is about as slimey as they come.

            • miggy80

              To me it sounds like MLB is going after these guys one at a time, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised if there are others that will be looking down a life time ban.

  • Sandberg

    What’s unique about ARod’s situation that he should be the only one banned for life?

    • cking6178

      Nothing….he shouldn’t be the only one banned for life…..Sosa, McGuire, Bonds, Clemens, etc…not just for the fact that they cheated, but also bc of the way they went about cheating…the cover up is almost always worse than the crime…in this case, being so arrogant about your cheating that you think people won’t notice the ridiculous growth spurt or that you are literally becoming a fine wine (getting better with age) and bald face lying about it, both, in the media and in Congress. Ryan Braun should be banned for life too and if I were the guy that was blamed for the test results last year, I’d sue Braun for defamation of character. I don’t necessarily believe professional athletes have a “responsibility” to the public to be role models, but I do believe that if you are going to cheat and you get caught that you need to be accountable for your actions. And if you are not accountable for your actions and get off on a technicality while blasting an innocent man and swearing on your family and “everything you were raised on, morals, etc..” and then found to have actually been guilty after all, you should be banned from the sport. To me, this much more despicable than the Pete Rose issue.

      • wvcubsfan

        Man dude, you should lighten up. To the best of my knowledge the majority of the people you listed never tested positive during their playing career. Unless of course you are relying on the leaked information of a report that was never supposed to be made public.

        Might I remind you that steroid or HGH use was not specifically against the rules of baseball. They were illegal in the US, and as such were covered as a banned substance, but there was no test. So unless you (or MLB) has proof that any of the players you listed above possessed and took HGH or Steroids in the United States, there is no recourse to be taken to ban them from baseball.

        • cking6178

          I didn’t say they could be banned, I said they should be….In general, I am a pretty laid back “dude”, but I can’t stand the arrogance of these players and the fact that they continue to lie & cheat and then expect sympathy when they are finally caught…if you get caught, man up and serve your time….definitely don’t destroy somebody elses life (ala Braun) trying to cover your lies….OK, I’m done venting…I think :)

  • cking6178

    As for the non-waiver trade deadline – my thoughts are that moving it back a couple of weeks will kill any potential deadline “blockbusters” (not that we’ve seen many lately) – especially for TOR pitchers. If a team is marginally in the playoff hunt towards the end of July and has the best rental pitcher available, they are going to get a better return if that team deems itself too far removed from the playoffs by July 31. Push that deadline back 2 weeks, that same team is still marginally in the playoff hunt, but that pitcher has 2-3 more starts under his belt & will only yield 5 maybe 6 starts for the remainder of the season, plus a best case scenario of 6 starts in the playoffs — the haul for that short of a rental will be significantly less.

    My suggestion, move the deadline up by 2 weeks – make it 1 week after the All-Star break. More value in the players being moved and force organizations to be realistic with their seasons expectations.

    • On The Farm

      I think moving the deadline up would be harmful, because the teams that are sitting on the fence of buying or selling would rather stand pat, than risk giving up talent for not making the playoffs if they fall out of the race in the next few weeks.

      Look at the Padres, if the deadline would have been sooner they might have traded for a pitcher only to go on a losing streak (did they lose 4 in a row?) and then you have a bunch of unhappy fans for making a trade and then falling out of the race two weeks later.

      • cking6178

        That still happens with the deadline where it currently is….I’m not advocating actually moving it, but if it were to be moved I think it would be better to move it up, rather than back…just my opinion – which, like the most interesting man in the world, my 2 cents is worth 37 dollars and change :)

  • ssckelley

    “Will the Yankees save a ton of money if Rodriguez is banned for life?”

    This is the question I was asking earlier. If A-Rod was banned it would play favorably into the Yankees luxury tax situation and they may not be as interested in Soriano. A-Rod is till owed 86 million and is no where near the player he once was, certainly not worth that kind of money. So basically you reward the Yankees by banning A-Rod.

  • ETS

    I don’t often release players just to make a point,
    But when I do, I eat over $100m
    Stay thirsty milwaukee (we all know you could use a drink)

    • DrReiCow

      *raises his glass*

      Moo

  • Chet Masterson

    I’m sure the Braun camp already had their redemption campaign timeline already planned out by the time the suspension was agreed to.

    I look forward to the emotional interview he’ll give to ESPN next year where he talks about how he hopes to earn everyone’s trust back because of ‘things’ that ‘other people’ think he ‘may have done’. With any luck there will be choked back tears. I’m sure Ryan is already working on how to get his eyes to stoically well up and drip tears slowly down his face during the suspension.

    The Brewers will do nothing other than put him back in the Opening Day 2014 lineup until he’s no longer productive. They too have likely been feverishly preparing their own fallen hero redemption project plan.

    • On The Farm

      Hey his family is going through a lot right now! If only we could find the responsible party to bring justice to his family while they are going through this rough patch.

      • cking6178

        I love that Greenburg kept saying that this morning!

        • On The Farm

          Between him saying that and that “he now knows what he did was wrong”. Which implies he didn’t know what he was doing before was wrong.

    • papabear

      Braun needs to say and do

      How about a public apology and settlement with the guy who did the drug test. Something like ” Sorry i trashed you on national TV I made up the story about” we knew stuff about you”. Sorry your family had to go through ridicule when it was me who should have”

      Gives his MVP award to the second place winner – with a “sorry I cheated you out of this”

      “Sorry to people who believed in me after I was caught the first time and i lied to you please give me a third chance”

      • On The Farm

        Actually Jeff Passan (I think on the DP show?) said that it was from the Braun camp that released the name of the guy who did the “botched drug test”. So had it not been for Braun, the dude could have been unknown drug tester guy. Braun’s people named him so they could turn him into a scapegoat (not to be confused with our Michigan goat)

      • Chris

        The poor dude collected the piss-then got pissed on, and now really pissed.

  • MichiganGoat

    Here’s my issue with an ARod lifetime ban and any suspension coming from Biogenisis: none if these players tested positive under the MLB testing policy. They are being targeted for being on a ledger or testimony from another source. It’s just a dangerous precedent to set that players can be suspended or banned without testing positive. My fear is that this is the begining of a witch hunt where suspected doctors/clinics turn over names to stay out if trouble. I really hope the evidence is ironclad and the coming appeals should be interesting. I just don’t like the idea of MLB having this much power. I know they are trying to send a message to players and scare them beyond the normal 50/100 game suspension policy and I hope they decide to create stricter penalties for testing positive, but to suspend without a positive test is suspect and dangerous.

    Oh and Braun is still a douche and deserves what he got.

    • cking6178

      I understand your argument, but I tend to slightly disagree. While I admit that it may set a precedent, I am OK with that. If players don’t want to worry about their name coming out on some list that “MAY” link them to a PED scandal, don’t go to a clinic to get your meds – have MLB certify clinics & utilize the network of team doctors & use MLB if you want a 2nd opinion. I don’t have any sympathy for these guys.

      • wvcubsfan

        OK, but how long of a “look back” period are you willing to give MLB?

        • cking6178

          By look back period, I assume you mean: if a policy like this were to be put in place for the 2014 season, what’s the statue of limitations? I would say anything prior to 2014 is off limits, basically everything before that was a “free pass”, but now we have something in place and a precedent has been set, so your name better not come up in allegations in 2014 or later. Not a perfect solution, but it’s not something I’ve thought long and hard about either. Good question though!

          • wvcubsfan

            If that’s the rules then I’ve got no problem with it. My problem is when they make the rule in 2014 and use “evidence” from 2000 to penalize a player.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yeah that’s my bigger issue, can Sosa, Mac, Bonds also get penalized? Where does the line get drawn if we are looking at past records to suspend/ban/penalize players.

  • William

    I saw that the Nationals are looking to move Drew Storen for possibly some offense. Would any of you trade for him? I think it’s worth looking into.

    • bbmoney

      I wouldn’t trade much of anything for him. He was really good before this year. Struggled this year and is already in his first year of arbitration as a super two. So, he’s not really all that cheap anymore ($2.5M in 2013) and his goodness is actually a bit of a question moving forward. Some also question his bellyfire quotient.

      Also I tend to not value relievers highly at all, so I might be biased.

  • MichiganGoat

    Oh and I think ARod will be retiring before this gets nasty.

    • ETS

      I dont see him retiring until he is for sure losing out on all future salaries. I don’t see that without a life time ban.

      • MichiganGoat

        He will if it means he can escape all this without any further problems. Yankees might even settle on some kind of package to get him out of baseball.

      • Mr. B. Patient

        Agree with MichiganGoat on this one. Right now, as we speak, there is a buyout being negotiated. Got to be.

    • ssckelley

      He walks away from 86 million? He may never put on a Yankee uniform again but he do everything he can to keep getting paid. Career ending injury or something like that.

  • North Side Irish

    Stan Croussett ‏@MindofStan 5m
    Had no idea it was this close. pic.twitter.com/BhhthwFW0Z
    Retweeted by Dustin Geiger

    I hadn’t seen this before…surprisingly similar numbers…

  • The Other Matt

    I say scrap MLB and start a new “anything goes” baseball league. PEDs are legal, contracts are not guaranteed, and we don’t have to worry about distorting the history of MLB. Of course, then Brett will have to start a sister site “Steroid Nation”.

    • cking6178

      LoL….nice

    • fromthemitten

      They currently have that, I’m pretty sure that’s where Jose Canseco is plying his wares

  • papabear

    I wonder if MLB is there biggest problem – Did they not break the law – Also product crossed state lines so wouldn’t that make it a federal issue.

    Brett your a lawyer – use your degree dood

    • wvcubsfan

      First it depends on what it was exactly they purchased. There are quite a few things on the new banned substance list that aren’t illegal. Then it would probably depend on whether they transported it before using. If the laws are like other drugs, it’s not illegal for it to be in your system, just don’t get caught with it before or trying to sell it.

  • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

    Here’s another take on Braun: http://www.forbes.com/sites/waynemcdonnell/2013/07/23/brauns-suspension-opens-up-a-series-of-compelling-questions-for-the-business-of-baseball/?goback=.gde_166135_member_260223735

    “The next phase in the fight against performance enhancing substances in baseball must come in the form of stricter penalties that have far reaching financial repercussions. A 50, 100 or even 150 game suspensions are temporary road blocks for a ball player who knows that guaranteed contracts are not voided as a result of the violation. Ball players need to lead the charge for enhanced penalties whether it is longer suspensions, lifetime bans or even the immediate termination of contracts. Once the Biogenesis matter is behind us, the story going forward should be how the ball players plan on addressing the current weaknesses in the penalties for violators of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. ”

    I responded to this:
    While I can understand where you are coming from on the financial perspective, I disagree with this proposed level of punishment, unless we do the same elsewhere.

    And Here’s why: When the mortgage crisis took place, we were mislead by many as they illegally and consciously abused the marketplace, and such deceits buttressed many firms bottom line, generously rewarding thousands of Wall Street players, from their CEOs on down. Some were flat out criminal, others just ignoring the damage – but all did benefit in their short runs. And for all of that, trillions of dollars in turmoil, or, if you are of a “creative destruction” economic bent, we only fined the most abusive in the millions – Goldman $550, Citigroup $285, JPMorgan $153.6. Allowing them to continue on – as if nothing happened – and little or no regulatory framework was instituted to keep it from happening again. The FED just primed the pump – hoping it won’t happen again. http://www.thinkadvisor.com/2013/01/24/secs-16-biggest-penalties-since-financial-crisis?page=2

    SO, we want to now terminate a single player’s contract, say A-Rods, $90 mil for 2014-2017. An individual player’s drug use is now viewed as much more heinous than the bad actors on Wall Street, that ALSO cost many, many millions their jobs, and livelihoods? A player – who’s economic importance is relatively minor (always can get another player – even special ones like Braun). But because it is baseball we are moralizing because it has to be pure. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dHlNa3NEdk5laU5raUVXX0FSQ2ZQV0E&output=html

    Ownerships want outs to their bad investments – able to ignore risks, JUST like Wall Street did – or rather, shift all the burdens onto a player, an easy out. And the moral blame too – a winning argument after the collusive 1980s cost owners $280 million. And while it seems a single bad actor can always receive the harshest punishments, which really benefits a team – an easy out of contracts – it does nothing to address the underlying problem. Incentives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_League_Baseball_collusion

    If you are a ballplayer, who’s performance is constantly scrutinized, much like Wall Street, there are more incentives to cheat, than to stay clean. Heck, for generations 1920-1980, players did drugs that hindered performance – alcohol, greens, LSD, PCP, et. al. Wall Street too has its serial abusers of drugs – but they never go to jail, or at least, you never hear about it.

    But while we are all for dissuading the player’s use of PEDs through morals clauses and contract terminations, we will keep on allowing Wall Street players and behemoths to keep on getting larger paydays, while their fines stay miniscule to amounts they move around daily. ($100 million fine is pittance to these mega-firms – they know they will keep on keeping on. Governments have no choices, or do they?)

    So, unless you can implore such equal death sentences – which is what contract termination is in professional sports – on these financial entities, you will be seen as hypocritical by at least this reader, if you do not feel the same. If you do feel that way, then I commend you. Write a piece on that.

    Let me add, a $3 million suspension and fine for his lying is pretty significant. There are businesses who engage in many bad acts, criminal acts, that avoid those deterrents, usually with lawyers.

    My feeling is we are blithely able to say, “throw these bums out” while ignoring, or at least not being as diligent about much greater and substantive problems in our society. And, after all, we created this mess – once you take any entertainment and infuse billions in money into it – it is going to raise the stakes, and we know what enormous wealth and money does…it changes people, even the best intentioned ones.

    Time to burn!

    • TWC

      tl:dr

      • On The Farm

        agreed, a sysopsis of the article would have been a better post.

    • johnny chess Aka 2much2say

      The clear answer is to make them play for league minimum for 1 year. If the team is satisfied with his performance the contract kicks back in, if not he is released. As a free agent they can sell themselves.

    • mak

      There is a fallacy in saying that because we got it wrong in the financial sector, we can’t get it right in the baseball sector. Should we have punished Wall Street more than we did? Sure. Does the fact that we didn’t mean we shouldn’t ballplayers strictly?

      And, of course, Wallstreet to baseball is apples to mcdonalds fries.

  • Mr. B. Patient

    Some tweets out there that Soriano probably wont play tonight because the trade with the Yanks is close. That brings up something that I’m wondering about. How will this trade effect Castro? Soriano was his mentor.
    Will it:
    A). hurt Castro (loses a friend and feels added pressure)
    B). have no effect (he’s expected it)
    C) help Castro (he becomes more of a leader himself)

    • On The Farm

      He did just get a friend and former roommate Junior Lake. I think Castro will be just fine.

    • miggy80

      That’s a good question. I would say C, but I wouldn’t limit the leadership role just to Castro. Between Rizzo, Shark, Castillo, Barney, Castro, Wood, and Lake one of these guys will step into the leadership role.

      • On The Farm

        DeJesus will still be around too (I don’t think he gets traded)

    • The Other Matt

      If he’s going to be hurt by losing friends on the team, and by added pressure, it’s going to be a long road for him.

  • Die hard

    Jay Leno hit it on the head last nite saying MLB should suspend itself

    • Patrick W.

      Nobody has ever said or typed or thought “Jay Leno hit it on the head last night…” so kudos for being an original thinker.

  • Edwin

    I’d like to see the league offer up some type of amnesty program for players, where players can get reduced suspensions and drug addiction help in return for coming clean and identifying their dealers. That way players have more of an incentive to come forward and deal with the problem head on.

  • Cubbie in NC

    Here is the Taiwanese animators explanation of the situation.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/NMAWorldEdition

  • Die hard

    But pitchers were on same stuff too- equalizer cancels out advantage

  • Patrick W.

    If I were to bet on it, I’d put the chances of a Ryan Braun Brewers opening day 2014 standing ovation at 89%

  • http://Www.twitter.com/homelessrobles HomelessRobles

    Re: trade deadline (not sure if anyone has said anything like this yet, sorry if I’m late to the game)

    Here’s the thing – there’s still trades after July 31st. That date has always kind of been arbitrary.

    Here’s my idea: a modified waivers system after july 31st, where playoff teams could take precedent (somehow) over non playoff teams. Just spit balling, but what about a waivers order that is based, on a given time, on the relationship of playoff seeding? Something as simple as: if today you have the best record in baseball, you have first dibs on a player on waivers. Another possibility would be a kind of blind bidding system (like posting Japanese players). Any other ideas?

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