In law school they teach you the difference between “innocent” and “not guilty” pretty quickly. Dan Patrick didn’t go to law school, so forgive him for not having that down pat. Today — Via Tom Haurdricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel — he clarifies his comments from yesterday regarding Ryan Braun and “innocence”:
“I want to clarify something I said about Ryan Braun yesterday,” said Patrick. “What I should have said is he could be found not guilty.
“I said (Monday) that Ryan Braun could be, COULD BE, found innocent. The test could be thrown out. I’m getting bits and pieces of what’s going on behind the scenes. We’ve been waiting for information on this.
“If they throw out the test, now this is IF, he could be found not guilty, not innocent. Maybe it’s semantics but I want to correct myself with that. I think there’s a little bit more to the story here.
“Once again, he could be found not guilty, not necessarily innocent.”
Being “not guilty” could simply mean that there was no evidence that he intentionally took a performance-enhancer. He could still, however, have his positive drug test upheld in the same way J.C. Romero’s was, with a decision that it was inadvertent (i.e. a positive sample constituting a lack of innocence). Because MLB’s drug policy is strict liability, however, he would still be suspended because intention has nothing to do with it.
And you know what? It probably wouldn’t matter. Because I have this feeling that those who judge the PED guys negatively care way more about the stature of the person in question as opposed to the nature of his specific transgression. Look at how much more flak the famous guys in the Mitchell Report took compared to the random scrubs. It’s all about sensationalism, not circumstance.
Prediction: If Ryan Braun is “not guilty” of intentionally taking PEDs, but is still suspended due to inadvertent taking of a tainted supplement or something, he will still be treated by many in the media and the public at large like a cheater because he’s a superstar. It shouldn’t be that way, but I bet that’s how it goes.
The Dodgers have signed lefty Rich Hill to a three-year, $48 million contract.The deal was reported to be imminent over the weekend, but was finalized today following Hill’s physical.
Hill missed a good deal of time in 2016 with blister issues — and he’ll be 37-years-old on Opening Day — but when he was healthy he was fantastic, posting the best season in his 12-year career. He had a a 2.12 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 110.1 innings between the Athletics and Dodgers.
Along with a healthy Clayton Kershaw a maturing Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers rotation looks to be a strength in 2017.
UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that a deal is in place pending a physical. The financial terms are not yet known. UPDATE: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears it’s in the four-year, $62 million range. That will make him, temporarily at least, the highest-paid closer in baseball history.
12:15 PM: Ken Rosenthal reports that the San Francisco Giants are close to a deal with closer Mark Melancon.
Melancon had an outstanding 2016, posting a 1.64 ERA, 2.42 FIP and a 5.42 K/BB rate in 71.1 innings while saving 47 games for the Pirates and Nationals. You may recall that the Giants had a strong interest in Melancon last summer. It was a well-founded interest given the bullpen woes which waylaid San Francisco in the second half of last season and continued on into the playoffs.
The terms of the apparently impeding deal will be known soon enough, but Rosenthal reported yesterday that Melancon was fielding offers in the four-years, $60 million range. That’s a lot for a closer, but it’ll probably look like a bargain compared to the deals signed with the other two top closers on the market, Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. Some have speculated that Chapman could get a deal closer to $100 million than $50 million, though that seems optimistic.
What the past couple of seasons have shown, however, is that having a top bullpen will get you very, very far in Major League Baseball. Champan may have been gassed at the end of Game 7, but he was essential to the Cubs’ World Series title. Powerful bullpens gave the Royals a title in 2015 and the Indians an AL pennant this past year. A weak one was, obviously, the Giants’ achilles heel.
Their great need at the back end of the pen, according to Rosenthal’s report, is apparently about to be filled.