Ryan Braun AP

If Melky Cabrera’s phony website didn’t warrant a 100-game suspension, how can Ryan Braun get one?

80 Comments

The news came down yesterday that MLB is, at least according to some sources, on the verge of handing out suspensions in the Biogenesis case. These sources continue to say that MLB is intent on giving Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez 100-game suspensions despite the fact that neither has previously served a PED suspension and despite the fact that the Joint Drug Agreement clearly states that 100-game suspensions are second-time discipline.

This is a pretty extreme approach. Maybe it’s just bluster, intended to scare players into copping to their PED use and accepting a 50-game suspension (if so, that’s pretty clever actually). But MLB may actually level a 100-game suspension. The question I have if they do this is what possible basis do they have for making it stick?

The ESPN report says that, at least in Braun’s case, it would be the result of both an association with Anthony Bosch and for lying to investigators.  Which is interesting considering that the same report says that Braun did not answer investigators’ questions. Maybe it was his lyin’ eyes, I dunno.  Or, more likely, maybe the real basis for double discipline is Braun’s alleged lack of cooperation with the league. That could make more sense.

Except for one thing: Melky Cabrera.

Last year Melky Cabrera famously — and quite ridiculously — attempted to pass off a phony website as an excuse for his positive PED test. It caused MLB to actually have to conduct an investigation into the phony company, purchase phony products and, at least according to some reports, travel to the Dominican Republic. This, apart from its hilarity, was blatant lying, deception and fraud. And yet, at the end of it, Melky Cabrera was given only a 50-game suspension.

If what Melky Cabrera did wasn’t worthy of double discipline, how on earth could Braun offering denials or, more likely, not saying anything, justify it?

If your answer is “Braun really made them mad last year and they want to get even” well, therein lies the bulk of my objection to what’s been going down in the Biogenesis matter.

(h/t to Kyle Kaestner for pointing out the Melky analogy on Twitter yesterday)

Danny Espinosa reportedly skipped Nationals Winterfest because of Adam Eaton

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates after teammate Chris Heisey #14 (not pictured) hits a two run home run in the seventh inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
8 Comments

According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.

A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.

Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.

Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.

Nick Cafardo: Red Sox should deal Pomeranz, not Buchholz

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Drew Pomeranz #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on September 18, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox won 5-4. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.

The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.

Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.

Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.