Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks lost to the Brewers in the 2011 NLDS, with Ryan Braun going 9-for-18.
It was later revealed that Braun failed a drug test for synthetic testosterone before the start of that series. He initially got out of it with good lawyering but has since been suspended for purchasing performance-enhancers from the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic.
Gibson, understandably, is pretty pissed off about the situation. Here’s what he told reporters, including beat writer Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, before Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates:
“If I get a chance to see Braun, I got a question for him, right to his face,” said the Arizona skipper. “Is he about rehearsed by now? About ready to come out? He’s probably been practicing at theater school somewhere. … I’m not surprised he hasn’t addressed people. He probably doesn’t give a (expletive) about me. He’s got it really good. I was one of the guys who went through many things – work stoppages, etc. – so that he could do that. I would hope that he respects me and everybody who stood up for him before he played the game. Everybody looks at it differently, but if he thinks he’s giving back to the game, he has a different idea of how to give back than I do. … There were other times in my career when I did overcome cheaters. We had our chance.”
Braun has been suspended for the rest of the season and is likely to remain hidden from the media spotlight as the final two months play out. Gibson’s Diamondbacks and Braun’s Brewers will meet again in 2014.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.