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.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.