Ryan Braun on PED charge: “I’m completely innocent”

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There’s been so much blatant lying on the topic of steroid usage in baseball that fans have rightfully developed trust issues with the game’s athletes.

But Ryan Braun deserves to be heard on the charge that he was using synthetic testosterone — confirmed by an early-October positive test, then denied by a negative test a few weeks later.

Braun is allowed to tell his side of the story. And he’s doing just that in text message form with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Tom Haudricourt.

Here’s a text from the 2011 NL MVP that Haudricourt received around 10:40 p.m. CT Saturday night:

“I can’t wait to get that opportunity,” said Braun. “This is all B.S. I am completely innocent.”

Braun couldn’t offer much more because he’s in arbitration with Major League Baseball on the charge and the 50-game suspension that goes along with it. A mediator will decide his fate at some point soon.

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.