Ryan Braun is suspended for the rest of the year, which means a 65 game suspension. Those 65 games will cost him about $3.5 million.
It’s an absolute steal for Braun, methinks.
Partially because of what he could have faced. If you believe the reports which have flown hither and tither for the past few weeks, Major League Baseball was bound to bring the hammer down on Braun. Maybe 100 games! Maybe life! I doubt it actually would have come to that, and if it did, Braun could have fought hard against it, even if it was only to try to force some compromise. But now he doesn’t do that and Major League Baseball gets a pretty big head on a pretty tall pike.
Why didn’t he do that? Probably because the league had him dead to rights. But there are two other reasons why this works out as the best case scenario in what is overall a bad situation for the former NL MVP.
First, it’s a nice time for a break. Braun’s season has been riddled with injuries and the Brewers season has turned into a pretty depressing slog. The team wasn’t going to do anything this year and Braun was going to probably have nagging injuries which would keep him from doing anything to cut out and put in the personal scrapbook. Now, with his suspension limited to one season, he can get healthy, take the winter off and come back fresh in spring training 2014. It’s a win for him in that narrow regard and a win for Brewers fans who don’t have to face parts of multiple seasons without their best players.
Financially, though, now is the time for Braun to take his medicine. People may not realize it, but Braun is a pretty low-paid superstar at the moment. His 2013 salary: about $10 million. That’s part of a structured long term extension he signed in 2011 which has things really starting to escalate from 2016 through 2020, when he’ll make around $19 million. Sixty-five games at his rate right now is way better than 50 games — or less — next year.
Obviously this is not any sort of actual win for Braun. He’s suspended and his name is Mudd for the rest of his career. But he’ll be back to being a regular baseball player next season. And a highly paid one at that.
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.