Why doesn’t Major League Baseball just suspend Ryan Braun and see what happens?

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Here’s a deep thought: if Major League Baseball is certain enough that its players took PEDs supplied to them by Biogenesis that they’re willing to file a lawsuit to that effect, why are they not certain enough to simply suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and all of the other players named?

Seriously. You can’t file a lawsuit in good faith unless you are willing to swear under oath that what you put in that lawsuit is true. And for their part, the lawyers, by virtue of the rules of civil procedure and legal ethics, are bound to file only those lawsuits which they believe to be in good faith.  My misgivings about the merits of this lawsuit aside, let’s assume — because it is polite to assume such things — that Major League Baseball truly believes and has basis for what it says in the complaint.

If so, is that not enough for them to suspend the players under the Joint Drug Agreement?

There’s not a burden of proof in the JDA. It merely requires, in the case of no positive test result, “just cause.” They have just cause to file the lawsuit — and they already suspended a minor leaguer based on what is now known — so why not just suspend Braun and everyone on a just cause basis now and make them appeal the discipline?

Of course they would appeal it, and with no shortage of vigor. But they’re going to do that regardless of what happens in this lawsuit. Indeed, baseball’s whole end game is to get the Biogenesis records and then suspend players, so they’e going to have this fight eventually, and there’s no way the players’ union will ever concede that what documents MLB is able to get — likely none, but whatever — prove anything. They’ll argue until the end of the world.

So have the fight now without this charade of a lawsuit. Put Braun and everyone on defense. No matter what happens — even if Braun wins on appeal again — Bud Selig can throw up his hands and declare victory, saying that they did what they had to do and, once again, those no-good players got off on a technicality. Or, perhaps, with a new arbitrator in place and all of the stuff that has thus far spun out of Biogenesis, they actually get their men this time.

Seems preferable to monkeying around with a dumb lawsuit.

Michael Bourn opts out of his minor league deal with the Orioles

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Outfielder Michael Bourn was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Orioles late last season and hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with them through the end of the season. While that’s not enough to outweigh the miserable season he had in Arizona, it was enough to get the O’s to give him a look in spring training with a minor league deal. They signed him to one in late February.

Then, a couple of days later, Bourn broke his finger while playing catch with a football. Unable to play, the O’s cut him. In early April, once Bourn healed, the O’s signed him again. He played 11 games for their Triple-A affiliate and went 9-for-41 with ten walks in 51 plate appearances. While that makes for a decent OBP, his lack of any sort of pop or good contact suggests that if someone throws him strikes, he can’t do much with the ball.

As such, the O’s had not called him up to Baltimore. And as a result of that, Bourn exercised his opt-out rights and became a free agent.

Someone may take a look at him given that his batting eye seems to be intact and given that, in an admittedly small sample size, he still performed last season. But if he does get a look, it’ll likely be back at the minor league level.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.