Milwaukee Brewers Photo Day

Ryan Braun and Brewers agree to 5-year, $105 million contract extension through 2020

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Ryan Braun was already under contract through 2015 thanks to a seven-year, $45 million deal signed in mid-2008, but today the Brewers and the slugging left fielder agreed to an extension that will keep him in Milwaukee through 2020.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com the new deal is worth $105 million for five seasons and also includes a mutual option for 2021, when Braun will be 37 years old.

Braun’s original deal now looks very team-friendly, with the Brewers buying out his arbitration seasons and then getting his first two years of free agency for $10 million and $12 million.

By the time 2016-2020 rolls around $105 million for five years may also look like a bargain, but the Brewers are still taking a very big and somewhat unnecessary risk by committing to Braun through age 36 when they already had him under team control at reasonable salaries through age 31.

Combining the two contracts, here are Braun’s year-by-year salaries:

Signing bonus: $10 million

2012 – $6 million

2013 – $8.5 million

2014 – $10 million

2015 – $12 million

2016 – $19 million

2017 – $19 million

2018 – $19 million

2019 – $18 million

2020 – $16 million

2021 – $20 million mutual option or $4 million buyout

Braun joins Troy Tulowitzki as the only players in baseball signed through 2020. They were both drafted in 2005, with the Brewers picking Braun out of Miami at No. 5 and the Rockies selecting Tulowitzki from Long Beach State at No. 7. Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Jeff Clement, and Ryan Zimmerman were the first four picks in that draft, with Ricky Romero going to the Blue Jays in between Braun and Tulowitzki at No. 6.

Braun debuted in May of 2007 as a third baseman, eventually shifting to left field full time in 2008. He’s a career .306 hitter with a .924 OPS, averaging 35 homers, 115 RBIs, and 15 steals per 160 games. Among all MLB hitters with at least 500 games since 2007, he ranks ninth in OPS sandwiched between Chipper Jones (.928) and Hanley Ramirez (.920). His teammate, impending free agent Prince Fielder, ranks fifth at .947.

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.