There’s been so much blatant lying on the topic of steroid usage in baseball that fans have rightfully developed trust issues with the game’s athletes.
But Ryan Braun deserves to be heard on the charge that he was using synthetic testosterone — confirmed by an early-October positive test, then denied by a negative test a few weeks later.
Braun is allowed to tell his side of the story. And he’s doing just that in text message form with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt.
Here’s a text from the 2011 NL MVP that Haudricourt received around 10:40 p.m. CT Saturday night:
“I can’t wait to get that opportunity,” said Braun. “This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.”
Braun couldn’t offer much more because he’s in arbitration with Major League Baseball on the charge and the 50-game suspension that goes along with it. A mediator will decide his fate at some point soon.
The Red Sox signed catcher Christian Vazquez to a three-year, $13.55 million extension, per a team announcement on Saturday. The agreement will keep Vazquez under contract through the 2021 season and covers two years of arbitration eligibility and the catcher’s first year of free agency. It comes with a $7 million club option (and $250,000 buyout) for 2022 that could get bumped up to $8 million if he reaches 502 plate appearances in both 2020 and 2021. Vazquez has also volunteered to make an annual donation to the Red Sox Foundation as part of his new arrangement with the club.
The 27-year-old backstop is entering his fourth year with the Red Sox in 2018. He’s been a steady defender behind the dish over the last three years and was ranked fifth-best in defense among all American League catchers at the end of the 2017 season. He also enjoyed a breakout performance at the plate, slashing a career-best .290/.330/.404 with five home runs and a .735 OPS in 345 plate appearances.
Come Opening Day, Vazquez is expected to be the Red Sox’ primary option behind the plate, with veteran Sandy Leon and Blake Swihart poised to start in backup roles. Swihart is out of options, but has been groomed for a utility role this spring and could take a few reps in the left field and the infield corners if need be, as it doesn’t appear the club is prepared to trade him just yet.