The players are not happy with the Braun decision


At least the ones Buster Olney has spoken to.  He reports that he has spoken with dozens and dozens of ballplayers off the record in the past week, and that as many as 80-90% of them are upset at the Braun decision.  They don’t like that he challenged procedure as opposed to substance, and they think it’s bad for the testing program overall, which they sincerely want to work.

I understand that. And I think it’s a good thing for drug testing in baseball overall that there are people who are upset at it.  Like I said yesterday, systems are improved over time when blips and inefficiencies occur.  The Braun decision may seem unjust on some level, but its lasting legacy will not be about what it means for Braun, it will be about how, when faced with a problem in the system, the league and the union can work together to address it. Which I am certain they will here, either by clarifying the collection procedures to their people in the field or by changing the Joint Drug Agreement to conform to the practices those in the field have employed and to apply them going forward.

All of that said, complaints that the Braun decision somehow puts testing at risk is silly.  Braun walking on this charge is no more of a threat to the drug testing system than a guy getting off on a burglary charge because the cops didn’t get a proper search warrant is a threat to the criminal justice system. You may hate the result, but the remedy is easy: get it right next time or change the rules to make what happened in that instance acceptable.  It is not something that puts the entire regime in peril.

Finally, I’ll observe that these complaints all seem a little self-righteous to me.  No one who ever wins on a procedural argument themselves ever seems to have a problem with it.  And I suspect that the 80-90% of the players Olney spoke with here were under the gun themselves, they would not hesitate to make the same arguments Braun did if they or their legal advisors thought to do so.

Athletics designate Jharel Cotton for assignment

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Teams have until 8 PM tonight to set their 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft. In that effort, the Athletics designated pitcher Jharel Cotton for assignment to open up a spot on their 40-man roster, which went to pitcher Daulton Jefferies,’s Mark Feinsand reports.

It’s a sad end to Cotton’s tenure with the A’s. Acquired from the Dodgers in August 2016 in the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick deal, Cotton was one of the organization’s more interesting pitching prospects. After impressing in five starts at the end of the 2016 season — he allowed just seven earned runs with 23 strikeouts and four walks over 29 1/3 innings — he struggled in 2017 before having to undergo Tommy John surgery. During his rehab assignment this year, Cotton suffered a hamstring injury which required a debridement procedure. He returned in mid-July, pitching out of the bullpen, but continued to struggle, posting a 7.71 ERA over 18 2/3 innings of work through the end of the season.

Cotton should find another opportunity elsewhere, but he will have to prove himself at Triple-A first before making his first major league appearance since September 24, 2017.