Say what you want about Ryan Braun but now, as opposed to in the past, he is realistic. He talks to Bob Nightengale of USA Today about what it’ll be like to be Public Enemy Number One when he goes on the road this year:
“I’m sure it will be a bit adventuresome at times this year, but if anything, it’s probably better now. Normally, you go to Philly and Chicago, and they’re talking about your mom, your sister, your girlfriend, whatever. So, now, it will be just about me.”
I guess that’s the best lemonade one can make out of the lemons he willingly sucked on. And the ego is pretty remarkable too:
“If I perform like I’ve always done, I’ll be one of the best players in this game. I don’t need any added motivation of drama at work.
“I’ll just let my work speak for itself, as every artist should.”
Artist. Oh man.
It’s interesting to watch Braun V.2. He’s taking a tack we’ve not seen much of with people who have stepped in it big time in the past. It’s certainly not a full heel-turn (which would be AWESOME) because he has played the contrition game at home with Brewers fans. But the idea that he legitimately doesn’t seem to care about what people outside of Milwaukee will say and think about him — and that, unlike any other scandal-laden player, he isn’t playing humble — is kind of fun for our entertainment purposes.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.