Ryan Braun AP

No, the Biogenesis thing does not cast us adrift on a sea of uncertainty

25 Comments

Danny Knobler wrings his hands:

Ryan Braun, you’re doing it to us again. Leaving us wondering. Leaving us asking questions. Leaving us in that zone of uncertainty that we’d hoped we had left behind, when baseball and its players union finally stopped looking the other way on steroids.

Drug testing was supposed to clean up the game, but it was also supposed to give us clarity. It was supposed to give us trust that we could believe what we were watching. Some players would fail tests, but they would be suspended and we would know who they were.

Now we’re back to where we were before testing began. We’re back with suspicions and reports.

You’re only there because you want to be, Danny.

If you think we’re in a land of pre-testing uncertainty — which Knobler specifically says later in his column — then the current drug testing program is utterly meaningless. He should just advocate for it being scrapped, because it’s giving him no comfort whatsoever.  For my part, I read just about everything Danny Knobler writes, and I’ve never once seen him claim that the current drug testing program is pointless and should be abandoned.

To the contrary. Last year, after Braun’s appeal, Knobler was one of the few voices who accepted the results and defended Braun and the process.  He believed in it then and said that Braun was due the benefit of the doubt because of the system. Why is he not owed the benefit of the doubt now? Why is the system of no comfort to Knobler today when it was in late February 2012?

Since that decision, the loophole through which Braun and his lawyers jumped has been closed and MLB and MLBPA have increased the stringency of the drug testing program. Indeed, even the USADA and WADA are now applauding it as U.S. team sports’ most rigorous drug testing regime. On the other hand, we’re have one report of currently uncertain weight and import involving a few players, several of which aren’t tied to PEDs.

Maybe that report turns into something big. Maybe it turns into nothing. But that’s what we have.  We do not have the end of all certainty regarding baseball and drugs. We are not cast adrift on a sea of doubt like Knobler will have you believe. Or, as of a year ago, as he even believed.

White Sox players reportedly did not pay clubhouse dues at Safeco Field to protest

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 21:  Starting pitcher Chris Sale #49 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on August 21, 2015 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Chris Sale was recently suspended five games by the White Sox over a heated confrontation with front office staff over an issue concerning throwback uniforms the team was to wear against the Tigers. Sale was scratched from his scheduled start, forcing Matt Albers to make a spot start.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the White Sox players also collectively protested over another issue. The club was in Seattle for a three-game series at Safeco Field from July 18-20 last week. The Mariners have a new clubhouse policy that, as Rosenthal describes, redirects 60 percent of the dues into an account managed by the team. White Sox players did not agree with the policy because “Mariners management unilaterally entered a financial relationship that historically has existed between only players and ‘clubbies,'” Rosenthal explains.

Clubhouse attendants handle a lot of the players’ needs, typically doing a litany of chores throughout the day. They don’t get paid handsomely for their labor, so players often tip the clubhouse attendants for their hard work. The White Sox were protesting that the money was being redirected from the hardworking clubbies to the front office.

Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto confirmed that the White Sox were the first team to refuse payment to the visiting clubhouse manager Jeff Bopp. DiPoto also noted that other teams have reacted with “curiosity” and that the Giants backtracked after adjusting its clubhouse procedures last year following complaints from visiting players.

This is the third controversy in which the White Sox have been involved. Before the start of the regular season, some members of the club were upset that Adam LaRoche — now retired — often brought his son Drake into the clubhouse. Then there’s the Sale incident, and now this. Needless to say, it’s been an interesting year for the White Sox.

Report: Rangers interested in Royals’ Edinson Volquez

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 29: Starter Edinson Volquez #36 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on June 29, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
1 Comment

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that the entire Rangers “inner circle of front office personnel” was on hand to watch Edinson Volquez start for the Royals against the Rangers on Sunday. Volquez went six innings, giving up a lone run on seven hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

Volquez, 33, is earning $9.5 million this season and can become a free agent after the season if his team chooses to buy him out for $3 million instead of picking up their end of his $10 million mutual option for 2017. GM Jon Daniels said he was hoping the club would be able to avoid considering rentals, but as the club has dealt with injuries, the strength of the starting rotation has become a concern. Colby Lewis and Derek Holland are both on the disabled list. Yu Darvish has made only five starts since making his season debut in late May. Meanwhile, Kyle Lohse — who has given up 13 runs in two starts — has occupied the back of the rotation. A reliable starter would go along way towards helping the 57-42 Rangers fight to keep first place in the AL West.

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports also reports that the Rangers have shown interest in young Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, but they would pay a much higher price for him than for Volquez. Velasquez has a 3.34 ERA with a 103/34 K/BB ratio in 91 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season.