According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Dodgers and Brewers are still in talks regarding a potential trade for Milwaukee outfielder Ryan Braun. The two sides initially had a trade in the works last August, when it was rumored that the Dodgers would receive the veteran outfielder in exchange for outfielder Yasiel Puig, right-hander Brandon McCarthy and two unidentified prospects. However, talks fell through prior to the August 31 deadline and discussions appeared to be tabled, though not entirely nixed.
Now, both Cafardo and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi report that the clubs have started to revisit the deal. While it is unlikely that the two sides will finalize anything in the first month of the new season, it’s worth noting that Braun will gain his 10-and-5 rights on May 24, allowing him to veto any potential trade offers. Morosi speculates that Braun would be unlikely to reject a trade to the Dodgers, both because the team was left off of his no-trade list last season and because of their proximity to his home in Los Angeles.
Following Saturday’s game against the Reds, the 33-year-old outfielder has gone 9-for-46 during the 2017 season with three home runs and three stolen bases. He’s looking to follow up on a productive 2016 run, during which he slashed .305/.365/.368 with 30 home runs and 3.2 fWAR in 135 games with Milwaukee. The Dodgers, meanwhile, could use the extra support in the outfield, where their fielders are drawing a collective .242/.338/.462 at the plate and Franklin Gutierrez and Andre Ethier have been compromised by injuries.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.