Ryan Braun Rumors

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.


Quick Hits: Garza, Braun, Tigers, Jackson

The Rangers are set to introduce the recently signed Yu Darvish at a press conference tomorrow night, reports Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter). Here's the latest from around the league…

  • Some MLB executives say Matt Garza’s filing number of $12.5MM “greatly complicates” interest in him as a trade target, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. The right-hander filed for $12.5MM and the Cubs countered at $7.95MM as our Arbitration Tracker shows.
  • Ryan Braun's appeal hearing for his failed drug test was today, reports Bill Madden, Andy Martino, and Teri Thompson of The New York Daily News. The three-person panel consists of union head Michael Wiener, MLB executive Rob Manfred, and independent arbitrator Shyam Dos. A decision is not expected this weekend, and no player has ever successfully appealed a positive test.
  • "Of course we'd consider Prince Fielder," said Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski to Angela Wittrock of MLive.com in the wake of Victor Martinez's torn ACL. "But realistically, it's probably not a good fit … I would just say that the fit is really not there at this point."
  • ESPN's Jerry Crasnick wrote about the abundance of aging hitters still available on the free agent market. "Some of these guys have made so much money in their careers, the $2 million-and-less contracts don't sound very appealing,'' said an AL exec. "It's a supply and demand issue. When you have a lot of guys out there, the prices are going to get driven down.''
  • Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com checks in with top Cubs prospect Brett Jackson and hears that the 2009 first rounder doesn’t get rattled by the possibility of a trade. “All players are tradable at any time,” Jackson said. “That doesn’t put me on edge." People in the Cubs organization have lots of good things to say about Jackson and the Cubs made him untouchable in compensation talks regarding president Theo Epstein, Mooney writes.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Braves, Nakajima, Braun, Cespedes

On this date two years ago, the Mariners traded Bill Hall and a player to be named later to the Red Sox for Casey Kotchman.  Here's a look at tonight's links..

  • Braves GM Frank Wren has a knack for dealing for players with little trade buzz, and Angels infielder Maicer Izturis would fit that bill, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • According to a source familiar with the negotiations, shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima's issue with the Yankees offer was not the dollar figure but rather the length of the contract, according to a report from Sponichi (Japanese link).  Nakajima wanted to become a free agent after one year while the club wanted standard control (six years) over him.  Special thanks to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker for the translation.
  • The Brewers will know before the start of spring training whether Ryan Braun will be in their opening day lineup, writes Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel.  Earlier this week, an official familiar with the appeals process told Haudricourt that he didn't like the slugger's chances of avoiding a 50-game suspension.
  • There are no fewer than six teams, and perhaps even more, that are seriously in on Yoenis Cespedes, tweets Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.
  • Reliever David Aardsma has started throwing but will wait until he's further along in rehab before pursuing his next contract, agent Jamie Murphy told ESPN.com's Buster Olney (via Twitter).  Aardsma, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery in July.
  • Right-hander Peter Moylan has had discussions with a few teams, including the Braves, tweets David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  If all things are equal, Moylan would prefer a return to Atlanta.

Quick Hits: Braun, Aoki, Kuroda, Nationals

Links for Monday night, as we await word on Coco Crisp’s next team…

  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that the club doesn't know if an appeal date has been set for Ryan Braun. The 2011 NL MVP faces a 50-game suspension for using a banned substance. 
  • The Brewers are in the process of setting up a meeting with Norichika Aoki that will occur within a week or so, McCalvy reports. The Brewers won the rights to the Japanese outfielder last month via the posting system.
  • Agent Steve Hilliard told Sponichi last week that free agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is working toward a decision and considering options in Japan and with MLB teams, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker notes.
  • Jim Margalus of South Side Sox points out that the White Sox have reduced their payroll by at least $20MM and suggests the club faces a steep, potentially messy climb back to respectability.
  • Mark Zuckerman of NatsInsider.com breaks down the latest Prince Fielder rumors and explains that the Nationals may be wary of committing $20MM or more to three players at once. Jayson Werth will earn $20MM-plus starting in 2014 and Ryan Zimmerman will be a candidate for a salary in that range after 2013, when he hits free agency.

Quick Hits: Blue Jays, Pena, Padres, White Sox, Braun

Presenting the first edition of Quick Hits for 2012..

  • An interesting fact courtesy of Yahoo's Jeff Passan (via Twitter): Of the 23 teams to have spent money on free agents this offseason, the Red Sox rank 18th and the Yankees are tied for 19th.  Each team has spent $4.35MM and $4MM, respectively.
  • Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told Jason Frasor shortly after the trade that he's now satisfied with the look of his bullpen, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.  Frasor will join the recently-signed Darren Oliver and Sergio Santos, who Anthopoulos traded for in December.
  • The Blue Jays now have 40 men on the 40-man roster after acquiring Frasor, which means that the club will need to make another move in the coming days to create space for Oliver, Chisholm tweets.  The veteran agreed to a one-year deal with a club option for 2013 on Friday.
  • It's possible that Carlos Pena could be an option for the Indians, but the market for first baseman won't truly shake loose until Prince Fielder finds his new home, writes Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer.  Yesterday, just over 7% of MLBTR readers polled picked the Tribe as Pena's most likely destination while the Brewers won out with almost 20% of the vote.
  • The Padres shook things up yesterday when they traded for Carlos Quentin, but you can expect them to open the season with Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett in the middle infield, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com.
  • Speaking of the Quentin deal, Dayan Viciedo is now expected to take over in right field for the White Sox, writes MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  The 22-year-old is entering the final season of the four-year, $10MM deal he signed in December of 2008.
  • An official familiar with the appeals process for banned substances told Tom Haudricourt of the Journal-Sentinel that he doesn't anticipate Ryan Braun winning his case against a 50-game suspension.  The source said that Braun's only options are to prove an error in the testing or say that the Brewers signed off on a treatment.  However, there are provisions in place to ensure accurate testing and the club never gave Braun the go-ahead to use any substance.
  • Fielder liked the idea of playing in Chicago because it's a reasonable distance from his Florida home and he has had success at Wrigley Field, writes Ken Davidoff of Newsday.  However, that no longer appears to be a possibility for the slugger as the Cubs are looking to rebuild.

Quick Hits: Tigers, Bailey, Braun

Links for Wednesday night, as we wonder which team won the rights to negotiate a contract with Yu Darvish

  • The chances of Jimmy Rollins signing with the Tigers seem incredibly thin, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
  • GM Dave Dombrowski said the Tigers had "minimal" discussions with Aramis Ramirez’s representatives, Chris Iott MLive.com reports. The Tigers did not make the third baseman a formal offer before the Brewers signed him.
  • Athletics closer Andrew Bailey admits that he doesn't know where he'll be pitching next year, but the trade candidate sounds prepared for the possibility that he'll be dealt before Opening Day, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. Bailey grew up on the East Coast and says he has an understanding of what it would be like to pitch for a team like the Red Sox.
  • Brewers GM Doug Melvin says he's moving forward under the assumption that Ryan Braun will be in the lineup next year, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports. The Brewers are doing "business as normal," though Braun tested positive for a banned substance and faces a possible 50-game suspension.

Brewers Notes: Ramirez, Gamel, Green, Braun

GM Doug Melvin confirmed this evening that the Brewers won’t bid on free agent first baseman Prince Fielder. Here are more details on the Brewers, who agreed to terms with Aramis Ramirez and obtained Jose Veras for Casey McGehee today…

  • The Brewers have already committed more than expected to the 2012 payroll, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links). "We've stretched it well beyond where we wanted to go," Melvin said.
  • The Brewers will proceed with Mat Gamel at first base and they also intend to give infield prospect Taylor Green a chance to make a contribution in the Major Leagues in 2012, Haudricourt reports (Twitter links). The Brewers won’t sign a prominent free agent first baseman this offseason.
  • Melvin declined to comment on the possibility that Ryan Braun will miss 50 games in 2012, Haudricourt notes. The 2011 NL MVP tested positive for a banned substance and may face a lengthy suspension.
  • Ramirez is a reasonable solution for the Brewers, but they'll likely need more to repeat as division champions in 2012, ESPN.com's Keith Law writes.

Ryan Braun Tested Positive For Prohibited Substance

5:21pm:  According to a source familiar with the case, Braun's original test for performance-enhancing drugs was "insanely high, the highest ever for anyone who has ever taken a test, twice the level of the highest test ever taken," writes Teri Thompson of the New York Daily News.

3:55pm: Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (in these five Twitter links) that baseball's new CBA contains a provision stating that if a player tests positive for a banned substance, the drug will be publicly announced. The Players' Union could contest the announcement, as Braun's test was conducted under the old CBA, which prevented that information from becoming public. Experts say that false positives are nearly impossible under the carbon-isotope testing performed by WADA. His source also confirmed that MLB has never lost an arbitration case with PEDs. Ultimately, Passan says it's unlikely Braun's appeal will stand, and we'll probably learn which substance Braun tested for.

SUNDAY, 11:50am: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears from a source that Braun tested positive for a prohibited substance, not a performance-enhancing drug (Twitter link). Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was told the same thing, with his source saying there's "never" been a result like this since MLB's drug testing program began.

SATURDAY, 6:46pm: Reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun has tested positive for a performance-enchancing drug, reports Mark Fainaru-Wada and T.J. Quinn of ESPN. YokalSports.com was the first to report the news (on Twitter). Braun is facing a 50-game suspension and is disputing the positive test through arbitration.

"There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan's complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program," said a spokesman for Braun in a statement. "While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated."

Braun, 28, was tested during the playoffs and notified of the positive result in late-October. Elevated levels of testosterone in Braun's system triggered the positive test, which prompted MLB to ask the testing agency to perform a second test. The second test determined that the testosterone was exogenous, meaning it was produced outside of Braun's body.

Tyler Barnes, a spokesperson for the Brewers, said the team had no knowledge of the positive test and had not yet been contacted by the commissioner's office. Fainaru-Wade and Quinn say that Braun has told those close to him that he did not knowingly take an illegal substance and hopes the arbitration process proves his innocence. No player has ever successfully appealed a positive PED test.

The Brewers signed Braun to a five-year contract extension worth $105MM back in April, which will keep him in Milwaukee through 2020. He led the Brewers to the NL Central crown and took home MVP honors by hitting .332/.397/.597 with 33 homers and 33 steals this past season. It was his fourth 30+ homer season in his five years as a big leaguer.

Guillermo Mota, J.C. Romero, Edinson Volquez, and Manny Ramirez have been suspended 50 games for failed PED tests under MLB's current drug policy.