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Ryan Braun Rumors
Major League Baseball has suspended Ryan Braun for the rest of the season due to his involvement in the Biogenesis PED scandal, and he has accepted the deal, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. ESPN's T.J. Quinn tweets that MLB confronted Braun with "volumes" of evidence from Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch, including text messages. Braun's suspension is effective immediately, meaning that the total penalty is 65 games. He will not be paid during that time.
The 29-year-old Braun won 2011 NL MVP honors when he batted .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers. Reports that he failed a drug test surfaced shortly afterward, but he denied the allegations and won an appeal to overturn his suspension as a result of improper handling of his urine sample. Since that time, Braun has adamantly denied using PEDs, but acception of a 65-game suspension seems to indicate otherwise.
Recent reports surrounding the Biogenesis investigation have suggested that players would be able to negotiate shorter suspensions if they were to agree not to appeal the punishment, which appears to be the road that Braun elected to take. Braun issued the following statement regarding his suspension:
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization. I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."
Meanwhile, MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner issued the following statement regarding Braun:
"I am deeply gratified to see Ryan taking this bold step. It vindicates the rights of all players under the Joint Drug Program. It is good for the game that Ryan will return soon to continue his great work both on and off the field."
As Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out on Twitter, Braun is earning $8.5MM this season, meaning that his suspension will cost him $3.4MM.
5:21pm: An MLB spokesperson tells Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (via Twitter) that the news on Braun is premature and no decisions have been made.
5:07pm: Major League Baseball is expected to suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and as many as 20 players connected to the Biogenesis clinic sometime after next week's All-Star break, several sources told T.J. Quinn and Mike Fish of ESPN.com. Commissioner Bud Selig's office is considering 100-game bans for Braun and Rodriguez, the punishment for a second offense, despite neither player receiving a previous suspension for violating MLB drug rules.
Suspensions appear to be a certainty for both players and the only issue in question is the length of time that they'll be sidelined. One source said that the league's argument would be that they, and possibly other players, committed multiple offenses by receiving PEDs from Tony Bosch's clinic and lying about it.
As Quinn explains on Twitter, suspensions are usually levied, appealed, and ruled upon by an arbitrator months later before becoming public, but MLB is allowed to announce suspensions publicly because case has been public. Players who appeal the forthcoming suspensions may continue playing until an arbitrator rules, however.
Braun, who has repeatedly denied using PEDs, refused to answer questions during a recent meeting with the league office about his connection to Bosch, according to sources. Rodriguez will meet with baseball officials on Friday, sources familiar with the meeting tell Michael O'Keeffe, BIll Madden, Nathaniel Vinton, and Teri Thompson of the Daily News.
Late last month, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that suspensions were likely in the Biogenesis case. Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero, and Bartolo Colon were among the other players linked to Biogenesis in the initial report.
Major League Baseball has begun interviewing players connected to the Biogenesis PED scandal, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that people who have spoken with MLB investigators feel it's likely that some suspensions will be issued.
MLB has yet to interview either Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Braun, according to Heyman, because the league considers them its primary targets and wants to ensure that enough evidence has been built against the pair before conducting those interviews.
Heyman reports that the MLB will claim the Joint Drug Agreement legally allows them to issue suspensions prior to the appeals process, because the names involved have already been leaked. This would obviously be a large point of contention for the MLB Players Association, who will argue that suspensions cannot be issued or announced until a player has had the opportunity to appeal.
MLB is also interviewing Porter Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee who is responsible for leaking Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch's notebooks and records to the Miami New Times. MLB has reportedly interviewed Fischer three times now in an attempt to stockpile evidence. Heyman reminds that there are varying degrees of mentions in Fischer's documents; for example, Rodriguez's name allegedly appears alongside mentions of specific PEDs, while Braun's name only appears next to dollar amounts.
Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Jesus Montero and Bartolo Colon were among the other players linked to Biogenesis in the initial report. Earlier this month, ESPN's Buster Olney stated that it could be months before suspensions are handed out due to the appeals process, so the ability to circumvent that process would be a significant step for MLB in this case.
Here's the latest news and headlines out of the NL Central…
- Brewers star outfielder Ryan Braun remains happy with his decision to commit his long-term future to Milwaukee after signing an extension nearly two years ago, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I wouldn't change a thing," said Braun. "I love it in Milwaukee. It's amazing. I think the more time I've spent there, the more I realize how great a situation it really is."
- Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter enters the 2013 season uncertain of whether this year will mark his final turn as a Major League baseball player, says B.J. Rains of FoxSportsMidwest.com. "If I'm healthy and I feel good at the end of the season and I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to have a job, I'll sit down and talk to my wife and kids and see what they want to do."
- MLBTR’s Ben Nicholson-Smith and Jason Martinez of MLB Depth Charts discussed the Delmon Young signing, the latest rumors and potential surprise teams on this week’s edition of the Rosters & Rumblings podcast earlier this evening. You can listen in here.
Earlier today, MLBTR gave you the latest news and notes from the AL East and the NL West. Now, let's visit the NL Central, which could be in its final hours as the only six-team division in baseball.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow's vision to rebuild the franchise is a club that grows and develops its players but can spend when it needs to thanks to increased revenue from a new local cable partnership with Comcast, according to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle.
- There will be competition for at least one spot in the Cardinals' starting rotation, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold. Goold theorizes that competition will pit incumbent Lance Lynn against Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and Shelby Miller.
- In a separate piece, Goold named the seven best starting pitching prospects in the Cardinals' system that have yet to exhaust their rookie eligibility, including the aforementioned Rosenthal and Miller.
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch lists five reasons for optimism and five reasons for concern for the 2013 Cardinals.
- After speaking with members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the distinct impression that Ryan Braun will be penalized in the voting for NL MVP because of his failed drug test last year and subsequent successful appeal. Haudricourt also believes the failed drug test played a role in Buster Posey being named the NL winner of the Hank Aaron Award instead of Braun.
- The Cubs have hired Derek Johnson to become their new minor league pitching coordinator, tweets Baseball America's Aaron Fitt. Johnson was Associate Head Coach/pitching coach at Vanderbilt where he tutored six pitchers who were drafted in the first round including David Price and Sonny Gray.
Some links from baseball's Central Divisions for your Sunday reading…
- New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has the right outlook, but very few pieces to work with, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. One scout told Heyman that aside from Carlos Lee, only two players in the Astros' projected lineup have a chance to be even league-average hitters: Jason Castro and Chris Johnson.
- Corey Hart has torn cartilage in his knee that will require arthroscopic surgery and sideline him for three-to-four weeks, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said they won't rush Hart back like they did from an oblique injury that cost him his 2011 Spring Training, and that Hart will likely open the season on the disabled list.
- MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner told Haudricourt that the leak in Ryan Braun's positive drug test was an isolated, case-specific incident and that the process doesn't have a confidentiality problem.
- Joel Zumaya has opted for Tommy John surgery, writes MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger. Dr James Andrews will perform the operation at the end of March, and the Twins have yet to decide if they'll place Zumaya on the 60-day DL or release him, assistant GM Rob Antony told Bollinger.
There's plenty of news, commentary and analysis in the fallout of Ryan Braun's overturned suspension. Here's a look at what's being said about the reigning National League MVP:
- Baseball is left facing uncomfortable issues, writes Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, regarding the leak of Braun's result as well as the break in the chain of custody of his sample.
- The appeals system worked as it should, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, but Braun has nonetheless been victimized by a lack of confidentiality.
- Braun has been dealt a clean slate but, unfairly, a stained reputation, writes Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
- The ruling is a blow to the testing system that Bud Selig believed would restore baseball's reputation after the steroid era, writes Jeff Passan of Yahoo!.
- T.J. Quinn and Mark Fainaru-Wada of ESPN.com outline some of the critical discrepancies between MLB's recounting of the events vs. Braun's.
- MLB and the MLBPA issued statements in response to Braun's comments at a press conference today, blogs Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Here is video from Braun's press conference.
- Confidentiality is certain to be a topic of discussion between MLB and the MLBPA, tweets Haudricourt.
- Braun will be a "rallying point" for MLB and the MLBPA for a long time, tweets Quinn.
Ryan Braun publicly denied taking banned substances at Brewers camp today, expressing a willingness to bet his life that the substance in question never entered his body. Braun called the current drug testing system ‘fatally flawed’ and respectfully disagreed with MLB’s reaction to yesterday’s news that he won his appeal. Here’s the latest from the NL Central…
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears the Cardinals recently boosted their offer to Roy Oswalt to $5MM from $3MM (Twitter links). Oswalt announced yesterday that he will look to sign midseason.
- The Cardinals have made enough progress in extension talks with Yadier Molina that an agreement could be in place within a week, Strauss reports.
- Major League Baseball is a big loser in the aftermath of Braun's appeal, since an old wound has been re-opened, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.
Ryan Braun has won the appeal of his failed banned substance test and will not be suspended for the first 50 games of the season, reports Tom Haudricourt of The Journal Sentinel. The union officially announced the win, saying both parties agreed to the announcement despite what is usually a confidential process. MLB has issued a statement saying it "vehemently disagrees" with the decision.
"It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation," said Braun in a statement passed along by MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. "We were able to get through this because I am innocent … This is not just about one person, but about all current and future players, and thankfully the process worked."
Haudricourt says the appeal went Braun's way not because of the test result, but because of a technicality with the testing process. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman and The New York Post's Joel Sherman report that part of Braun's argument was that the sample was not shipped in a timely fashion and that the chain of custody was broken for two days, meaning the sample was left unprotected (Twitter links). Independent arbitrator Shyam Das ruled in favor of the technicality, giving Braun the win by a 2-1 margin.
The reigning NL MVP is the first player to have a suspension successfully overtuned through the appeals process.
Considerable uncertainty surrounds the Brewers, who don't yet know whether Ryan Braun will miss 50 games after a positive test for a banned substance. Here are the latest links from the NL Central, which will look much different than it did a year ago whether or not Braun plays a full season in 2012…
- Braun is on his way to Brewers camp and doesn’t know whether he’ll face a 50-game suspension yet, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. A decision is expected today or tomorrow.
- Brewers camp is looking different this year, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes. There are more distractions than the Brewers would like, as Braun's possible suspension looms and the club moves on without Prince Fielder.
- Agent Melvin Roman recently met with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak to discuss an extension for Yadier Molina, Derrick Goold and Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report. The most recent round of discussions took place in the past two days and went well, the Post-Dispatch reports. Roman said Tuesday that the sides won't discuss an extension after Opening Day.
- Coco Crisp said the Cardinals offered him a multiyear deal this offseason, Joe Stiglich of the Bay Area News Group tweets. The outfielder eventually signed a two-year, $14MM contract with the Athletics.
- The Pirates nearly signed Chris Gimenez earlier this month, the catcher told Bill Chastain of MLB.com. The Rays signed Gimenez soon after the Mariners released him.