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ryan braun whoaA quick look at a few of the biggest stories around baseball right now …

  • David DeJesus is on the move again, having been claimed off of waivers from the Nationals by the Rays. The Rays are reportedly likely to get DeJesus, either by way of simply taking his contract or working a trade. If you’re among the folks hoping DeJesus comes back to the Cubs next year as a 4th outfielder type, DeJesus going to the Rays is about as good as it gets. There is just about zero chance they would pick up his $6.5 million option for 2014.
  • Ryan Braun finally did some apologizing for taking a banned substance in his MVP 2011 season and then lying about it after being busted. Or did he really apologize? Most folks don’t think he went far enough in his statement – he basically said he was trying to get over an injury in 2011, and took something he shouldn’t have. Is that enough? And do we believe he’d never used before that? These are questions he’ll have to face at some point, and we’ll see if he actually answers, or just does the old, “I’m not here to talk about the past” thing. At least he did apologize, by name, to the sample collector he’d reportedly accused of being an anti-Semetic Cubs fan.
  • Cuban defector Jose Abreu will put on a showcase next month, per Jeff Passan. Abreu will likely command the biggest contract ever for a Cuban defector, Passan adds, which will probably be more than $60 million. I still don’t see the Cubs getting involved, but we’ll keep an eye on things – Abreu’s story remains hugely important for the offseason, regardless of whether the Cubs are directly in on him.
  • Baseball and cats. (h/t fromthemitten)
  • Andrew

    I hate to be that guy, but its anti-Semitic. Ok I might like being that guy

  • Senor Cub

    If Abreu is as good as what has been written about him then $60M is not excessive. Rizzo and Castro are similar in terms of money.

    • gocatsgo2003

      That would be the big “if” — can a guy who hasn’t seen significant high-level pitching leave Cuba and have an impact at the Big League level commensurate with a $60MM+ contract.

      • CubFan Paul

        “can a guy who hasn’t seen significant high-level pitching leave Cuba and have an impact at the Big League level commensurate with a $60MM+ contract”

        All the scouts and talent evaluators say “yes”.

        • gocatsgo2003

          Absent real live competition against MLB-level pitchers, there is always the question of whether those scouts and talent evaluators are actually correct.

          • CubFan Paul

            Nooo shit Dick Tracy…

            • gocatsgo2003

              … meaning that there’s not perfect information available on him (in an economic sense). He could very well perform like a $5MM player or a $500MM player, which is the risk we are discussing if we boil it down — or maybe use the talent evaporator you’ve got laying around.

              The other layer for the Cubs is where to put him in the field. Can he handle LF? Can Rizzo handle LF? Would putting either of them out of place on defense alter their offensive performance for the worse or better? Added together, I still can’t really see why the Cubs would feel comfortable making a big ticket investment in Abreu at this point.

              • CubFan Paul

                If Baseball wasn’t a multi-billion dollar enterprise then I would believe that there’s not perfect information available on Abreu.

                Google a scouting report instead of insulting someone over a typo.

                • gocatsgo2003

                  I’m well aware that there are plenty of scouting reports available on Abreu, but scouting reports are inherently imperfect and especially moreso when they are on a Cuban with limited appearances off the island.

                  And I’m not trying to insult you over the typo — I literally laughed out loud at work over it.

                  • Chef Brian

                    You and every other Baseball person would love to have more info and a more definitive indicator on how well this guy will perform. Since this is the real world there are no guarantees. Someone will take a chance on him and pay him a fortune. Thats baseball, an imperfect game loved by imperfect people. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Jackalope

      I know this is not a perfectly comparable situation, but Fukudome got 4/$48M when it was unclear how his game would translate. Given inflation, $60M doesn’t seem unreasonable.

      • Eternal Pessimist

        But man he sucked…I’m sure you meant 60M if he played the way we EXPECTED Fukudome to play. Talk about a hole in his swing. He was one of the all time greats at falling away from a pitched ball. I figure Fukudome must have been beaned a couple of thousand times to help develop his batting approach.

        • Cubbie Blues

          Fukudome far from “sucked”. He had a career .359 OBP and played excellent RF at Wrigley.

          • Eternal Pessimist

            Just checked his numbers…remember him being worse. Looks more like an average performance and a slight overpay at 12 Mil.

        • C. Steadman

          maybe he wasnt worth that big of contract…but he was a good player for the cubs…he was a victim to overhype

  • Chad

    I still have no ideas what the Nationals were doing claiming DeJesus

  • FastBall

    I think the Cubs need to be smart about this. If he is the best defector to ever come out of Cuba then maybe the FO needs to get him and find a place for him to play. There are certainly plenty of holes in the lineup. I know he is 1B. Everybody loves Rizzo but nobody is or should be secure in this rebuild of the MLB Cubs. Hey there’s nothing that says Rizzo can’t play RF. He is athletic enough a sound defender and his bat plays to a corner outfield spot. Just saying never say never.

    • CubFan Paul

      Exactly. The $60ish million Abreu will get will still be $150M short of a market contract for a slugging first basemen. No Cuban has ever gotten a market contract so the Cubs should definitely be in on Abreu, without Rizzo being in the discussion. Collect assets, sort it out later.

      • gocatsgo2003

        The hole in the reasoning here is that the $150MM first basemen you mention all have an extensive resume of success at the Big League level — guys like Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Albert Pujols (even if I think that might be the worst contract out there), etc. If a team is completely convinced that Abreu would perform at that level based on his performances in Cuba and international competition, then he would be paid like those guys. Because there are questions as to whether his production would directly translate to the Big Leagues, he won’t get that much. Signing him for less and having him perform like a top-flight 1B is obviously the ideal scenario and create the market inefficiency Theo so covets, but there are a whole lot of questions.

        • CubFan Paul

          The reason he’s not going to get that $150M is because he’s Cuban. Scouts and talent evaporators all know Abreu will perform.

          • CubFan Paul

            LOL@evaporators

          • gocatsgo2003

            Hot damn… I think I want me a talent evaporator… regular evaporators are fun enough as it is.

            • frank

              I think someone I once knew must’ve had one–my baseball talent evaporated a long time ago.

            • Azcubsfan

              I think wearing the Cubbie blue is a talent evaporator.

              • willis

                Ha, funny and absolutely true. Well done.

      • jj

        What you point out is exactly why the Cubs should consider Abreu. Scouts believe he will perform similarly to players that typically earn contracts with total values exceeding $100 million. Abreu will not cost that amount, though, because of heightened uncertainty given the absence of MLB experience. So, the Cubs could obtain a rare hitter at a considerable discount from his value — that is what the Cubs should target. If Abreu hits as scouts expect, he will vastly outperform Rizzo over the next several years and the Cubs can either play both or move Rizzo. That’s assuming the Cubs scouts are as confident on Abreu as others apparently are.

    • arta

      just asking. has he ever played the OF, does he have the arm for RF, it would be nice if he could but IMO he can’t.

  • Cubbie in NC

    Wasn’t there another International kid that was not old enough to be signed but was turning of an appropriate age this month that the Cubs were interested in?

  • caryatid62

    There are people who wouldn’t be happy unless Ryan Braun was hanging by his toes in a POW camp. The apology/non-apology/whatever is irrelevant. He’s not a good guy, and he broke a rule. I’m not sure what sportswriters want at this point, other than to give themselves something to write about for a few more days.

    Maybe they can take their high horses to the NFL, where one of the best linebackers in the league just got a 6 game suspension for PEDs. However, it’s my guess that these writers only care about games that are obsessed with their own nostalgia.

    • frank

      If you mean Von Miller, he was suspended in accordance with the policy on recreational drugs, not PEDs.

      • caryatid62

        Actually, we don’t really know what it is from, because the league doesn’t comment beyond the suspension. The union claimed it wasn’t for a PED, but they are under no legal obligation to tell the whole truth (meaning it could have been for amphetamines, which aren’t technically classified as PEDs in the NFL).

        Regardless, the NFL handles this stuff a hell of a lot better than MLB, that’s for sure.

  • dan

    Is our PTBN tied to what the Rays give up?

  • ETS

    Ryan Braun is going to set the HBP record in a single season.

  • http://www.justinjabs.com/blog/ justinjabs

    Braun says he “privately expressed apologies” to baseball officials, but says “I sincerely apologize” to Dino, mentioning the collector “in passing,” as Bob Coastas just put it on MLB Tonight. As if this statement is his only apology to Dino. That’s how I read it. I hope he does a little more for/to Dino.

    A tweet I really liked on the statement, courtesy of @Trenni:
    “A statement? Ryan Braun had no problem getting in front of cameras to insist his innocence & should have done the same in admission of guilt”
    https://twitter.com/trenni/status/370691936878735360

    • http://www.gravatar.com/avatar/653cc0c5f0eded621ab13b4f631de7da.png Cizzle

      “I sincerely apologize to everybody involved in the arbitration process, including the collector, Dino Laurenzi, Jr.”
      Including? Doesn’t he mean Especially? The fact that he wasn’t willing to publicly retract the accusations he leveled against a guy that he lied about in order to get him fired is pathetic.
      This statement isn’t much different than his last one. He’s not willing to fully take credit and enumerate his wrong-doings because he’s afraid he’s going to be held accountable for what he did (to Dino) in a court of law.
      And I’m not buying for a second that he all of a sudden decided to use PEDs in 2011. As far as I’m concerned he’s used them his whole career.

    • baldtaxguy

      I’m sure this new apology statement may appease some of the public, but I think it just makes it worse for him PR-wise.

      He isolates this as a single occurence (you happened to catch me at the only time I ever cheated),

      He states that his “vision of reality” was “clouded” (I wasn’t myself during the aftermath of the positive test)

      He “convinced himself that he had done nothing wrong” (see…I didn’t really lie…),

      After the MLB interview, he “came to the realization that it was time to come to grips with the truth” and “[he] was never presented with baseball’s evidence against [him]” (I finally decided on my own to forth and come clean about my lieing and cheating),

      “It was important to [him] to begin [his] suspension immediately to minimize the burden on everyone [he] had so negatively affected” (and its not about increased lost pay next year),

      “[He is] aware that [his] admission may result in additional attacks and accusations from others” (See…I’m a victim in this too)

      Etc, etc, etc.

      I’d have more respect for him, if his statement was simply “I knew what I was doing, I cheated and I lied about it to everyone. I’m sorry, please forgive me.”

      • cubbie Forever

        Braun had a kid brother who played in Mesa for a couple seasons. Milwaukee team at Maryvale. I remember him being a real pleasant kid and athletic . He did not resemble his brother and remember him at 2nd base–I think. Does anybody know if he is still playing?

  • Edwin

    I thought compared to most athlete apologies, Braun’s was just fine. It’s not like an apology really changes the PR battle anyways.

    • CubFan Paul

      He apologized for 2011 use. Tony Bosch sold him PEDs in 2012. That’s my issue.

      • caryatid62

        According to MLB investigators, that’s not true. Per Bob Nightengale:

        “MLB investigators: No evidence that Braun used PEDs beyond latter part of 2011 season.”

        • Spencer

          Braun must be among the large list of professional athletes that were caught the first and only time he used banned substances…

  • CubsFaninMS

    Listen, to some degree we have to understand as fans the business side of baseball. People get traded, players can be generally seen as “assets”. There’s nothing wrong with this. But, IMO, what the Nationals did to DeJesus, basically day trading with a human being and his livelihood, is a little over the top in my book. This assumes there’s not a more logical explanation for what they did. At some point, you have to see a human being as just that, not an asset, and handle the situation ethically.

    • jt

      c’mon, see if that argument holds with your boss. then see if it holds with your boss’s boss.
      then see if it holds with your boss’s boss’s wife who wants to winter on some warm island with an extensive beach front.
      yeah, annie, the trophy wife rules.

      • CubsFaninMS

        If that argument didn’t hold with my boss, I wouldn’t work where I do. Mastering the human element of a company, team, whatever is a critical part of how successful it becomes.

        • Kyle

          You and baseball players are not synonymous.

          • JB88

            Not completely analogous, but the better you are at making money for your employer, the more likely they are going to put up with boorish (or worse) behavior

          • CubsFaninMS

            True, but I’m unsure how that particular analogy applies to the debate here.

  • ETS
    • gocatsgo2003

      While I couldn’t agree more that he’s an idiot, I can give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, especially if the umpires weren’t making definitive signals.

  • another JP

    Happy that Dejesus is going to a contending team that really wants his services this season and hope he’s an option to return to the Cubs in 2014 (at the right price of course). And all the talk over getting Abreu, Choo, or any other FA costing in excess of $60M is great for purposes of discussions, but I think next season should be for concentrating on promoting the talent we have to the majors and getting guys like Castro & Barney on track or finding improvements at those positions. With a vastly improved pen the Cubs could win an extra ten games over what we’ve endured this year.

  • Jim L.

    [img]https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/q71/s720x720/998579_622165281157447_1335095282_n.jpg[/img]

    • JB88

      Be careful or you will incur the wrath of Annie …

      • DarthHater

        Yea, please annie, go stalk that guy ^^^ :-P

  • Bilbo161

    Tie that scurvy dog by the yardarm!

  • Curt

    What was the point of the nays taking dejeus to start with .

    • Edwin

      To block Pitt from taking him. I thought.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Then why trade for him? All they had to do is place the claim and he was blocked.

        • Edwin

          It’s either trade for him, or just pick up his salary outright, though, isn’t it?

          • Cubbie Blues

            Either way you are picking up the salary. Why send someone or cash over at all?

      • C. Steadman

        and when the nats put him on waivers..he’d still have to go past the pirates again before any AL team can claim, right? so i dont see how this blocked pitt in anyway..baseball can be a hard sport to figure out sometimes

        • Edwin

          When the Nats put him on waivers, if Pitt would have put in a claim, that Nats could have pulled him back.

          When the Cubs put DD on waivers, and Pitt was able to put in a claim, the Cubs would probably let it go through.

          So the Nats basically paid for the ability to control who got to claim DD. Why they did the “Trade” instead of just picking him up is bizarre, but oh well.

          • C. Steadman

            well if the rays claimed him then couldnt the pirates claim him also and block him from the rays forcing the nats to keep him and the salary?..just tryin to make sense of this bc this is one area of baseball thats a little foggy to me

            • Cubbie Blues

              The Pirates could have, but didn’t.

              • C. Steadman

                then why are people sayin that this move was to block the pirates if the pirates couldve claimed him in the end? or did the nats misjudge the interest of the pirates?

                • Edwin

                  Because it did block the Pirates. If the Pirates would have put in a claim, then the Nationals would just pull DD back. So in that case, the move worked. There is no way the Pirates can get DD.

                  Knowing this, the Pirates probably just passed on DD, because once they knew they couldn’t get him, they don’t care where he goes.

            • Edwin

              The Pirates could have, but why would they? The pirates probably don’t care. Forcing the Nationals to keep him wouldn’t really accomplish anything, it’d be more of a spite move. Plus, we don’t even know if they actually wanted him.

              • C. Steadman

                yeah they probably didnt want him since he passed into the AL…makes more sense now..nats claimed him thinking the pirates wanted him, then put him on waivers and since the pirates didnt claim him they knew they didnt want him and now they let the rays have him

  • FastBall

    I wonder how many Civil Suits the chump will have to settle out of court on. Us fans ought to bring a suit against for providing illegal performances based on being jacked up on PED’s. He committed a crime against baseball and his employer. Sue his ass for the balance of his contract. He committed a fraudulent act against his employer entering into a contract after knowingly cheating to enhance his performance. The Brewers in essance paid for fraudulent statistics. If this were the NCAA the Brewers would and should have all there wins taken away from them because the had a cheater. What would that have done to all the other teams records which they played that season or seasons. The playoffs may have had different teams and we may have had different outcomes. If nothing else people should sue his ass repeatedly until all his money is gone. Wasn’t all about the money anyway. Performance = $$ on a new contract. Make an example out of his ass is all I am saying. I bet players considering cheating would think twice if they saw Brauns ass swinging in the breeze.

    • Edwin

      Good luck with all that.

    • Nedskid

      New drinking game:

      1 shot for everytime ^ say the word “ass”

      Go….

    • Noah

      Yeah, none of those lawsuits are going to happen.

      The one lawsuit that COULD happen is that the sample collector could sue Braun for slander and libel.

      And if you sue someone repeatedly after having knowledge that your suit will fail, that’s called a frivolous lawsuit. If you file a frivolous lawsuit, you’d be paying Braun’s legal fees.

  • FastBall

    I bet DJ getting claimed was a gentlemens agreement so the Cubs could clear him off the roster and save a few $MM.

    Probably nothing more than that. The PTBNL or Cash is probably a happy meal coupon.

    • gocatsgo2003

      … or a tactical miscalculation from Washington, figuring the Cubs would pull him back.

      • Cubbie Blues

        No, because why would they then add anything to it, like a PTBNL or cash?

    • DarthHater

      I thought the explanation Blublud gave yesterday was pretty good. Here it is, for those who missed it:

      “I’ll explain the Dejesus trade. The Cubs put Dejesus on waivers, like they did to most of their players more then likely. They knew they would be buying him out in the offseason, so when the Nats claim him, they let him go. The Nats where not willing to part with much to get him, but if they could get the Cubs to let him go for cheap, and I am assuming the nominal cash the Cubs are getting is the cash they save by not having to buy him out, then they would take and try to flip him to a contender. The Cubs could have probably got a little more value from him if the Rays, or somebody in contention had originally claimed him and Nats probably knew this. So they claim him with the intentions of placing him back on waivers, knowing the Cubs would not reclaim him, flip him to the Rays, a team that actually requires his services for the post season, for a marginal at best prospect and gains something that they wouldn’t get if they didn’t make the move. If they aren’t able to work out a deal with the Rays, they can then just release him to the Rays, and they lost nothing but a couple of days worth of salary.

      I hope this makes sense. This is just my theory, but its the only logical explanation I could come up with.”

      • DarthHater

        Hey, Bert! I’m reposting what other people write, see! ^^^ Does that mean I can get my own blog? ;-)

  • Cheryl

    If Abreu can’t play another position what’s the point of going after him? How many 1st basemen do we need? Rizzo appears to be locked in unless he struggles next year like he has this year. V may be ready to join the cubs in 2015. He has become a more complete player but another year in the minors will show whether he can meet the 2015 projection. He’d be a cheaper future piece for the cubs.

    • Chad

      If he’s as good as everyone says he could be, then he could easily displace Rizzo at first. Get the best players you can get and move on. Who is V? Vitters?

      • Richard Nose

        I assumed Vogelbach. Either that or he has a master plan to acquire Adam Vinatieri and turn him in to a 1B. Like you said though, I’m down for acquiring good players no matter what. Just because the Cubs have Rizzo doesn’t mean there aren’t better options internally or externally. Pile them up. Or pass and watch them outperform Rizzo while wearing a Cardinal’s jersey, either way.

        • Chad

          Ha, Vogelbach. Yeah, he’s just made it to High A, so that is why I had no idea who she was talking about when she said ready in 2015. I highly doubt that. But if he is great! Still, get the talent while it is there.

        • Cheryl

          I do think there are better options than Rizzo. I don’t know the age of the Cuban but he could be viable, but at what cost? Do we really need him? Maybe. As of now Vogelbach seems to be looked at mostly as a trade chip and not as a potential successor to Rizzo. However with the progress he’s made this year I’d hate to see him looked at primarily in that category. How good he will be is not going to be apparent until next year. To me Rizzo is still a puzzle. IMO this hasn’t been the dominant or breakout year that many hoped he’d have. And that leaves me wondering if V is more of an option for the cubs at first than Rizzo or the Cuban.

    • Kevin

      Why are you saying Rizzo is struggling. His numbers are not suggesting that at all, unless you are solely looking at BA.

  • cubbie Forever

    We have lost 16 of our last 19 home games. Stat folk–is this a Cub record?

  • Mike S

    Cubs acquire Neil Ramirez as the PTBNL to complete the Garza deal, per mlbtraderumors.com.

    • Jon

      [img]http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EJbtRX1HFeE/TzpjjE8B69I/AAAAAAAAC4w/6c6Ijh5QeXw/s1600/06c1b8490834.gif[/img]

      • C. Steadman

        that pic pretty much sums up my excitement of that move

    • C. Steadman

      YES!!!

  • North Side Irish

    Bowden’s on a roll on Twitter…

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 11m
    Nationals get DeJesus from Cubs for waiver claim cost…then turn him into a 22-year old LHP prospect as Rays take full salary/contract back

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 10m
    Mike Rizzo deserves credit for claiming DeJesus knowing he could spin him and trade him for LH 22-year old pitching prospect from #Rays

    JIM BOWDEN ‏@JimBowdenESPNxm 2m
    There were four AL teams that had interest in trading for DeJesus but Nats blocked Cubs from trading him to other league & did it themselves

  • cubbie Forever

    Theo—tell me this is not true.

    • DarthHater

      It’s an unavoidable aspect of the waiver rules. After August 1, any team can always block you from trading a guy to another team that is lower on the waiver claim list by claiming the guy themselves. At that point, the only issue for the waiving team is whether to pull the player back from waivers, keep him, and pay his salary, or let him go and save the money. The Cubs decided to let DDJ go. But the fact that the Nats were subsequently able to trade him for a player is no fault of Theo’s.

  • Die hard

    If I hear one more word about a Cuban defector I am going to loooooooooooooose it!!!!!!!! They are NOT defectors… The Cuban govt is paid off by MLB and if Congress had the collective sense of a 🐮🐮🐮🐮🐮🐮 they would conduct hearings leading to indicting Bud and everyone else benefitting for unauthorized dealings with Cuba!!

  • Jason

    Put Bud in Guantanamo along with Braun.

    • Die hard

      You are a gentleman and a 🎓🎓🎓

  • brickhouse

    Cubs won’t go after Abreu with the commitment they made to Rizzo

    • mjhurdle

      The Cubs might not go after Abreu, but if they dont it is because they dont have faith that he is the hitters at least a few other teams will think he is.
      If they did think he was a great hitting talent, then you get him first and worry about Rizzo later.

      • jj

        Exactly. If Cubs think Abreu will be one of the best power hitters in baseball for the next 5 years, as some suggest, you try to sign him and worry about Rizzo later.

  • danimal8

    This reminds me of the initial rumblings of Dice-K. He had supernatural powers, if you recall, and threw the mythical “gyroball” (which proved to be a backup slider that hung and got crushed). I have no interest in a baseball player I have yet to see, or one who has unreliable statistics (such as age or HRs).

  • cub2014

    Cubs will make a run for Abreau, they are interested
    in stock piling talent. Maybe he ends up being to expensive

  • cub2014

    Where has ramirez been assigned AA?

    • MichiganGoat

      Yes

  • Die hard

    What a joke — mourning the loss of DeJesus as if he was the second coming of Willie Mays… Whatever Cubs got was more than deserve

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