Ryan Braun Rumors

Suspensions Likely In Biogenesis Case

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.

NL Central Notes: Ryan Braun, Chris Carpenter, Chat

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.

NL Central Notes: Astros, Cardinals, Braun, Cubs

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.

Central Notes: Luhnow, Hart, Braun, Zumaya

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.

Ryan Braun Reactions

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.

NL Central Notes: Oswalt, Molina, Braun

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 Wins Appeal, Will Not Be Suspended

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.

NL Central Notes: Braun, Molina, Crisp, Gimenez

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.

NL Central Notes: Brewers, Young, Kazmir

The Brewers beat Jose Veras in arbitration, so he’ll earn $2MM in 2012, rather than the $2.375MM he had asked for. Here are the latest links from the NL Central…

  • Both the Brewers and agent Bryce Dixon used Kameron Loe's recent $2.175MM agreement to argue their respective cases in the Veras hearing, MLB.com's Adam McCalvy reports. 
  • It's been 25 days since the arbitration hearing for Ryan Braun's appeal of a positive drug test began, but the soft deadline passed without a decision, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. A decision is expected within ten days.
  • The Pirates were impressed by Dmitri Young's workout yesterday, but they won't offer him a contract, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweets. Manager Clint Hurdle said he got a good read on the the 38-year-old after yesterday’s workout.
  • The Astros have already seen Scott Kazmir throw, so they don't intend to watch him audition in front of scouts tomorrow, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com tweets.

Central Links: Gordon, Molina, Astros, Braun

Seven years ago today, the Cubs traded Kyle Farnsworth to the Tigers for Scott Moore, Roberto Novoa, and Bo Flowers. Farnsworth spent half-a-season in Detroit before being traded to the Braves at the deadline. Here's the latest on baseball's two central divisions…

  • Alex Gordon told Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star that he and his agent wanted to work out a one-year deal for 2012 before discussing a longer contract (Twitter link). He also confirmed that the Royals have offered him a long-term deal. Gordon avoided arbitration with a one-year pact earlier today.
  • "I love the city. I love the fans, I love the park. But it's out of my hands," said Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch when asked about a new contract (Twitter links). "Whatever they like to do is how it is … They let Albert [Pujols] go. It's business for the team, too. It's out of my hands." Molina can become a free agent after the season.
  • "We're very active in terms of looking at transactions that are happening out there," said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow to Examiner.com's Stephen Goff. "Right now, most of the free agents have signed. Roy Oswalt is probably the last guy out there. We've got our fingers in everything. Are we actively looking to move a player or sign somebody at this point? No. We have got 61 guys coming to camp. From that group of 61, we believe we can get a real good 25-man roster to start the season."
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter) that the arbitrator in Ryan Braun's case won't be limited to the usual 25-day window, so a decision isn't necessarily expected by this Sunday. The Brewers slugger is appealing his failed banned substance test.