Report: Ryan Braun is ready to come clean

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Friends of Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun spoke to USA TODAY on the condition of anonymity. They said that Braun will soon come clean about everything and apologize to those who got hurt along the way.

From Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY:

Braun, according to his friends, is ready to soon admit that he used performance-enhancing drugs in parts of the 2011 season, the reasons why he did it, and publicly apologize for the lies and deception.

His friends, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because Braun has yet to make the announcement, said he plans to apologize to everyone from Commissioner Bud Selig to urine collector Dino Laurenzi Jr. to his teammates and peers.

And for the first time, he will admit guilt.

The people close to Braun said he is eager to be the anti-Alex Rodriguez and is desperately trying to distance himself from the New York Yankees third baseman.

We learned earlier tonight that a former friend of Braun’s has filed a defamation lawsuit, ostensibly the latest bridge Braun has burned. It will be interesting to see if his new strategy will pay off, if it will help him regain the trust he lost over the last three years.

Rob Manfred blames Bryce Harper for going unsigned

Bryce Harper
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Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.

No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.

Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:

Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.

Manfred didn’t stop there, however.

An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?