ryan braun getty

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


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.

The Diamondbacks met with Johnny Cueto’s agent

AP Photo/David Goldman
Leave a comment

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Diamondbacks spoke with Bryce Dixon, the agent of free agent starter Johnny Cueto. However, Rosenthal notes that Cueto’s price tag is expected to exceed the Diamondbacks’ comfort level.

Cueto, 29, is one of a handful of highly touted starting pitchers in this offseason’s free agent class. He is joined by David Price and Zack Greinke, among others. Jordan Zimmermann inked a deal in the neighborhood of $110 million over five years with the Tigers on Sunday morning, which will serve as a barometer for Cueto.

Cueto finished the 2015 regular season, between the Reds and the Royals, with a 3.44 ERA and a 176/46 K/BB ratio over 212 innings. He made 13 shaky starts with the Royals, but outside of a shellacking in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Blue Jays, pitched well in the post-season. Cueto pitched a complete game in Game 2 of the World Series against the Mets, helping put the Royals up two games to none at the time.

As a result of switching teams during the season, Cueto was not eligible to receive a $15.8 million qualifying offer. This means that Cueto, unlike Zimmermann for example, does not come attached with draft pick compensation.

Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is reportedly trying to trade Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe

Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.

Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.

Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.

Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.

Ben Zobrist is the “Mets’ No. 1 target”

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.

His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …

It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?

Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.

Tigers agree to deal with starter Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.

This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.

Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.

Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.