Tracy Ringolsby accuses Rangers of a "cover-up"

Leave a comment

A less-than-intellectually-inspired Tracy Ringlosby column today about Ron Washington
and the Rangers [I’ve deleted Ringolsby’s unnecessary paragraph breaks
because I think readability is more important than faux drama]:

Washington is an engaging personality. He has developed a strong bond
with the Rangers players in his three years on the job. He’s even won
over most of the critics he once faced in the Dallas-Fort Worth media
because of his straightforward approach. But some things can’t be
ignored. Washington crossed that line last July when he dabbled with
cocaine. Washington and the Rangers tried to cover it up. They could
not, however, hide it forever. And it finally came out on Wednesday . .
. Face it, there was enough concern over what Washington did that the
manager and the team tried to hide it. They were exposed this week and
tried to put on a happy face. It’s called whistling in the dark.

Was this really a “cover-up”?  Because from where I’m sitting, it was a
situation in which an employee’s drug test results were kept in-house.
Which is exactly what should be done with employee drug tests. Indeed, model
federal drug-free workplace guidelines
set forth pretty strict
confidentiality rules for this sort of thing absent express written
consent by the employee to the contrary (which is why PED results are released for players).  For their part, the Rangers
can do whatever they want with this stuff, but I’m guessing that they
don’t have an “issue press release when drug test results come back”
policy. Nor should they.

But hey, maybe Ringolsby has a point here. To prove it, I’m going to go
ask FOX and whatever bankruptcy receiver has possession of the Rocky
Mountain News’ old files for copies of Ringolsby’s employee drug tests
dating back to, oh, 1978 or so.  I’ll let you know if I get them. Or if,
as was the case with Ron Washington, a cover-up is afoot.

Braves reassign Ronald Acuña to minor league camp

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

As expected, the Braves on Monday reassigned outfield prospect Ronald Acuña to minor league camp.’s Mark Bowman notes Acuña will need to remain in the minors until at least April 13 if the Braves want to gain an extra year of control.

Acuña, 20, is the Braves’ best prospect and the second-best prospect in baseball behind Shohei Ohtani. He hit .325/.374/.522 with 31 doubles, 21 home runs, 82 RBI, 88 runs scored, and 44 stolen bases across three levels of the minor leagues last season, and he hit .432 with four homers and 11 RBI in 44 spring at-bats. Acuña has done everything he needs to do to warrant inclusion on the Braves’ Opening Day roster, but he won’t debut in the majors until at least mid-April.

Service time manipulation isn’t a new concept. Teams do it every year with their top prospects. The Cubs famously kept Kris Bryant in the minors until mid-April in 2015 — more on this shortly —  after a similar prior year and spring training to Acuña where he set the baseball world on fire. The MLBPA filed a grievance on Bryant’s behalf but it didn’t amount to anything. Bryant won the NL Rookie of the Year Award that year.

Clubs are incentivized to keep good players in the minor leagues for longer than is necessary, which means they are not putting their best product on the field. That’s a raw deal for fans as well as the players being manipulated in this way. This should be one of many things the union fights to change when the current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1, 2021.

Update: This is laughable, but Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos can’t just outright admit they’re keeping Acuña down to manipulate his service time.