Zack Greinke on Ryan Braun: “He lied to us”

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Many of Ryan Braun’s current teammates have been supportive of him publicly following the announcement of his 65-game suspension for his connections to Biogenesis, but one former teammate isn’t pulling punches.

After taking a couple of days to gather his thoughts on the matter, Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke expressed his disappointment on Braun in comments to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

“The main thing is, yeah, he lied to us,” Greinke said. “He forced us to lie for him, threw people under the bus in order to help himself out and didn’t care, blamed others for his mistakes and it’s just a lot of things you don’t expect from people.”

Greinke was a member of the Brewers from 2011 until last July, so he was there when Braun’s 50-game suspension was overturned last February. He was one of many of those close to Braun who believed him when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.

“Oh, yeah, 100% believed him,” Greinke said. “Everything was so convincing. He had people to blame. He seemed like a really good guy. He was a good teammate at the time. You don’t know the guys that he was pinning it on. I’m not positive, but I think everyone 100% believed him at the time. Especially the next year, he looked just as good as the year before. His numbers his whole career, Hall of Fame numbers. How could you not believe him? He was so convincing.”

Like many others, Greinke isn’t satisfied with the statement Braun gave in the announcement from MLB earlier this week.

“The fact that even to this day he hasn’t had a real apology is really upsetting to me,” Greinke said. “I thought about it a bunch. He still hasn’t really apologized.”

Braun is under a gag-order from MLB right now, so he can’t say anything publicly on the matter, but he clearly has a lot of fences to mend in the weeks and months ahead.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.