Tag Archives: Ryan Braun

Ryan Braun: “I made a huge mistake”

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At one point in time, we were huge fans of Ryan Braun. We defended his liabilities as a defender, and declared him one of the generational talents in the game today.

But all of that is gone now. We want nothing to do with Braun in fantasy leagues (he’s still a force there by the way), we wish him no success, we won’t seek out opportunities to see his at-bats. Something about Ryan Braun just feels tired to us, even if we can’t put our finger on it. Even if he is truly sorry.

“I made a huge mistake,” he said Thursday after reporting to Brewers camp. “I wish that I could change it. I can’t change it. My whole life, I’ve tried to do nothing but good, and just because I made a mistake doesn’t mean that [I] will stop doing good.”

People make mistakes. We’ve all done it. Every single person who reads this text at some point in their life – and people who live in glass houses and all that good stuff.

But we don’t care if Braun is sorry. He’s sorry for the same reason A-Rod and the other dopers are sorry. They’re sorry because they got caught. There’s nothing genuine about the way Braun went all Rafael Palmeiro back in 2012, proclaiming his innocence to the masses. It’s left a bad taste in our mouth. Now we just want Braun to disappear, which isn’t going to happen; but the damage has been done and those good old fashioned feelings aren’t coming back.

We have little to no interest in buying Braun memorabilia on eBay like in the past. Something about him just grosses us out.

Our Top 20 Fantasy Baseball Outfielders for 2014 & Commentary

You never lead with the top guy. Just one of the top guys.
You never lead with the top guy. Just one of the top guys.

Since we’re fantasy baseball nerds, we’ll be running down as much of a commentary as we can prior to your March fantasy drafts. If you’re having a draft before then, you’re violating a major man-law. Don’t do it. You’ll inevitably draft some guy who breaks his nads installing a hardwood floor or something. Here are our top-20 Outfielders for fantasy baseball 2014. We’re running this down similar to the guys at Razzball, though we could never pretend to be of the legendary status they’ve achieved.

1. Mike Trout: Until the younger bull knocks the old bull off the hill (Trout is the old bull in his age 22 season, didn’t you know?) you have to keep putting this guy here and leaving him alone. We just hope you were one of the lucky bastards who snagged him late and were able to keep him after that lackluster cup of coffee in 2011. That was so, so long ago. We figure Trout finally wins that MVP award, hits 30 homers, drives in around his career-high 97 and steals close to 40 while hitting around .320 again. No regression in sight.

2. Andrew McCutchen: There’s just no reason to move an MVP much when he’s entering that magical age-27 season. He wasn’t as Heavenly as his 2012 last season, but he was still remarkable and helped owners win a lot of leagues. What is there to say that hasn’t been said (that’s what we hate about these rankings at the top, everyone has these guys up here). McCutchen is a Ferrari, get him in your garage if you can.

3. Carlos Gomez: This is the guy we’re pretty proud of. He was our major sleeper heading into 2013, and he finally put it all together. What we love about Gomez is he’s a guy who seems to want those stats for you. He steals bases when his team is up big, he challenges for the extra base, he isn’t happy settling with that three-hit night. He plays the game hard and we think the power could enjoy another slight up-tick in 2014. The only thing about Gomez that sucks is when he takes away home runs from your other fantasy players playing center field. He owes Jay Bruce several.

4. Giancarlo Stanton: Big Mike struggled last season hitting .249, but he’ll enter 2014 with major motivation: play so well he can escape Miami for greener pastures and a mega-deal soon following. This will be the year that he eclipses 40 home runs if anyone does in the National league. This will be a .900 OPS season. This will be the year he finally plays like a first rounder. As they say on eBay, bid with confidence.

5. Carlos Gonzalez: 2010 seems so long ago when he finished third in MVP voting. Since then he’s missed time each season but was still spectacular when he was on the field. The only question with Gonzalez is health, if you believe he can stay healthy he will be stellar and steady. He’s not going to go out there and hit .260 at Coors Field. It’s just not going to happen. A solid first-round guy if he can play in 140-150 games.

6. Adam Jones: He’s in a great lineup, he’s in a nice hitter’s park, he’ll be just 28, and he’s baseball’s closest present-day version to Eric Davis. What we like most about Jones is his games played the past three years: 151, 162, 160.

7. Bryce Harper: Someday soon the nagging injuries that drive fantasy owners like us nuts will end, and Bryce Harper will have the biggest numbers of his young career. It’s not too much to ask for a player like Harper to post an average in the .280-.290 range with upwards of 35+ home runs and over 100 RBI and runs scored. We don’t look for him to steal many more than 10 – he’s bulked up – but that power is coming in a big way. He hit .344 and 9 HR in April last season. If he can put that together over a full year like he’s going to try to do……

8. Jacoby Ellsbury: We don’t like that he’s turning 30. We don’t like that he misses monstrous amounts of time about every other season. We do like that he is in that hitter’s park in the Bronx and think he offers 20-50 potential. Solid bet to be very good in the near-term. I want no part of him in a year or two though.

9. Jay Bruce: The Reds are going to have an average year. Jay Bruce is going to have a career year. He’s entering his age-27 season. He’ll get as close to 40 home runs as he has yet and he’ll hit around .275, and with Bruce what you’re buying is the consistency. A lock for 30+ home runs and 150 games played. His slumps will make you want to drown kittens. His hot streaks are other-worldly.

10. Ryan Braun: He’s really not going to miss a beat when he returns from his little hiatus in 2013. He’ll be the same old Braun, which is video-game numbers. It won’t be his career year, but short of that you’re getting one of the top sluggers in baseball with some steals, albeit a few less steals and probably a few less homers. All things considered, a guy we would love to have; even with the cheating!

11. Justin Upton: So now the world knows that he’s not the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr., and that’s okay! What Upton is, is just a pretty good player. And he’s going to be more comfortable in his second season in Atlanta. Something about Upton worries us a little bit; but when we think about it it’s just the poor taste he left in our mouth in 2012. Even then, he was pretty solid. He’s deserving of this high ranking.

12. Shin-soo Choo: He’s going to score a lot of runs out in that Texas heat and don’t be surprised if his numbers improve across the board in a lineup full of threatening hitters.

13. Yasiel Puig: There will be no in between for Puig in 2014. He does not simply maintain; he either becomes full-fledged fantasy superstar or completely collapses in his sophomore campaign. We’re talking .240 or .315ish with power and steals again. Either way, it’s going to be VERY entertaining. Biggest risk factor of anyone in these rankings.

14. Jose Bautista: He may be quickly approaching his decline. He is at an age where it is reasonable for a lot of players to lose bat speed and miss time to injuries. But we believe enough in Joey Bats’ skills to say he will provide one more glorious summer in the sun for fantasy owners. A return to the 30’s in HR, 100 RBI, and an OPS in the .900s for those that believe.

15. Jason Heyward: We don’t really plan to target him – which is why he’ll inevitably break out. If that’s not a good enough reason, keep in mind he’s playing for a monster contract. If you believe what the scouts originally said about Heyward back entering 2010, that huge year is coming this year or next.

16. Allen Craig: The guy with two first names always wrecks shit when he’s in the lineup. He’s a .300 hitting machine in a baseball town where everything seems to line up nicely for that organization. He’ll probably have a DL stint included, but if you can weather that storm you’ll get a .300 average, 20+ homers, near 100 RBI, and peace of mind rotating him between OF and 1B.

17. Matt Kemp: Another guy we don’t want to own, in part because his risk is not worth the overpay it will take to land him on draft day. If for some reason the bargain exists in the middle rounds – take a flier on the guy. The decline might only be a season or two away, but for now Kemp has something to prove and will be taking the field for a team with World Series expectations. It should be a nice year for the back of his baseball card.

18. Starling Marte: A lot of people out there will shy away from putting Marte in their top-20 because it’s too out on a limb. His power numbers should improve and he’ll be a realistic possibility for a 20-40 season. His average should not dip much further than .280 because speed like his doesn’t slump. An .800 OPS player who will be 25. The soon to be Pirates outfield of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco could be a lot of fun.

19. Yoenis Cespedes: Why do I feel like the guy is probably older than his listed age of 28? He’s probably like 34, but these damn Cubans are ageless wonders with their chicken blood voodoo cocktails. If you want a projection on him an average of his first two seasons is fair to expect: 25ish HR, .265-.270, 81 RBI, 12 steals, 70 runs.

20. Domonic Brown: The bottom line is power comes at a premium these days in baseball. Gone are the days where any number of middle infielders slug 27 home runs for you and drive in 80-plus. For that, you’ll need to pick up a guy like Brown who should continue to hit home runs in bunches. If it wasn’t for an injury he would have easily entered the 30-homer club. He’ll be inducted in 2014.

The Baseball Show: Trade Deadline Edition

peavydealt

Tonight on The Baseball Show, M.J. Lloyd and I talked about the trade deadline. It wasn’t much of a deadline, but we still found some quality discussion (and dick jokes). Topics covered in the podcast include:

-The Pittsburgh Pirates making a push for Giancarlo Stanton
-The smaller deals that went down (Callaspo to the Athletics)
-The Jake Peavy trade
-What the Hell are the Phillies doing?
-Our favorite trade deadline memories
-A Mike Trout mention
-Biogenesis suspensions

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll love our show if you love the game!

Ryan Braun Suspended for the Remainder of the 2013 Season

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Welcome to baseball’s biggest story of the day year. There’s nothing like a guy who feigns innocence for over a year only to “wish to apologize” to everyone now that he was offered some type of plea deal; which we assume was offered after MLB showed him that he was completely fucked with the evidence they had against him. That’s because cheats like Braun would only come clean if backed into an inoperable corner.

It’s not like we’ve always hated Braun, either. Back in 2007 and 2008 we thought he was one of the best young players in the game – just as he appeared to be. We sought out to collect all the Ryan Braun memorabilia we could get our hands on. We searched eBay for rookie cards, figures, signed balls, all that shit you look for when you really think a guy is ticketed for the Hall of Fame.

But now Ryan Braun’s name is forever dirtied in the hallows of history of this great sport. And in our mind since we first heard the whispers we knew he was a dirty, rotten scoundrel of a cheater.

But in the back of our mind; we always felt his career numbers were just a bit too perfect. If something in life looks like it doesn’t have a blemish, it’s usually a mirage. Braun’s numbers were definitely just that.

Good for baseball for taking care of the next closest thing to an Alex Rodriguez-like shadeball.

Don’t forget to check on liar/cheater Braun’s old quotes from after he was vindicated with a ‘clean’ test. What a fraud.

A few short thoughts about Biogenesis and MLB

Biogen 6.5
Anthony Bosch got the Selig angry face in the form of an inescapable lawsuit

Full disclosure:  I am not a Brewers fan, but have had Ryan Braun on my keeper fantasy team for five years.  I’ll try to not be biased.

News recently broke that MLB has struck a deal with former owner of Biogenesis, some sort of anti-aging, possible drug pen.  Anthony Bosch has agreed to give his full cooperation to MLB in tracking down players to whom he allegedly gave PEDs.  There is a laundry list of players potentially implicated:  Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, etc.  This is a serious list of players with a few very high profile guys.  Apparently MLB is going to try and hand down a few 100 game suspensions for two violations.  My thoughts:

  • Baseball players should not use PEDs, HGH, speed, Flintstone vitamins or whatever the MLB and player’s union agreed to in CBA.  They can lie as much as their conscience allows.
  • Baseball players should be punished if they do – I think the current punishments are just about right.
  • Baseball players should be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – meaning a drug test or something else concrete…say a video of Player A slathering beef roid cream all over his inner thigh.
  • Anthony Bosch is a likely less than reputable guy who was sued by an organization with endless resources to pursue an extremely expensive case against him.
  • He (wisely for his own sake) decided that he couldn’t reasonably defend himself even though the lawsuit was not likely to be won by the MLB.  The price of this was doing what the MLB asked of him.  When you push someone into a corner, they might come out swinging or they might capitulate to any demand.  I suspect the latter here.
  • The MLB players union is the most powerful union in major sports and has much more clout over the league than any other sport does.  Yes, they agreed for all these drug policies and it is good for the game.  But they will fight like hell for almost every single individual case.  High paid lawyers will be brought in and will defend these players well.
  • The MLB is not going to have concrete evidence in the end.  They have some balance sheets scribbled on paper with code names and the word of a desperate man they leveraged with their lawsuit.  I’ve seen more evidence on Crossing Jordan.
  • The MLB is going way too far to try and prove these guys have done something.  Drug test players.  That’s it.  Piss test.  Blood test.  Hair test.  Take a swab of ass sweat if you think it will help.  If they test positive suspend them.  If they don’t, don’t go digging.  If you think your drug test courier fucked up, keep testing anyway.

I don’t want cheating in baseball.  It hurts the game.  I also don’t want witch hunts either.  Test, pass, good.  Test, fail, bad.  What if Braun did buy drugs?  Did he take them?  MLB won’t ever know without a drug test.  Braun may well have taken PEDs but you can’t start suspending players because of leveraged testimony and some scribbled notes.  It’s not good business, it’s a proud guy trying to prove it wasn’t his fault that many of baseball’s hallowed records were broken while players injected gallons of horse testosterone into their asses on his watch.

Milwaukee Brewers 2013 Team Preview

Ryan Braun
How much of this Brewers season will Ryan Braun be a part of?

The biggest storyline for the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers will be whether or not they get a full season of Ryan Braun. There is a rumor circulating that in a few weeks Braun will receive a 50-game PED suspension from the MLB front offices.

I used to really enjoy Ryan Braun. But you know something? A quick browse of his career numbers, and they suddenly look a little bit out of control to me. Too perfect. Too clean. Not enough blemishes. There’s no doubting that Braun is a generational talent type. It’s possible that these numbers were achieved cleanly. But the fact of the matter is that when you’re hearing his name whispered amongst the cheaters, you start believing there’s a possibility. If I had to wager one way or another, I would say that Ryan Braun has used something that would give him an extra edge. That’s just my instinct at this time.

Braun receiving a 50-game time out would change the entire landscape of this Brewers team this season. With Braun this team can be formidable on a lot of nights. Without him, the cupboard looks a little bit bare.

The Brewers had themselves a nice little D+ off-season, at best.

Major Off-Season Moves:

  • Signed LHP Tom Gorzelanny
  • Signed LHP Mike Gonzalez
  • Traded for Burke Badenhop

Almost like a rite of passage into spring time, Mat Gamel hurt himself again. Never trust a Mat who spells his name with just one ‘t’. It’s bad karma. I don’t know any. Also, Corey Hart will miss his usual six or so weeks to start the season and then spring into action and tear the shit out of the baseball for the final five or so months.

Your 2013 Milwaukee Brewers, after the jump. Continue reading

Some Guy on Twitter says Cano, Granderson, Braun will receive PED Suspensions

Hell, I don’t know. I’ll go on record as saying I think Cano and especially Braun are probably users. Granderson I would be a little more surprised by.

I’m just glad that I don’t own any of these guys in my “big money” fantasy baseball leagues. Not a single one of them. So if this all comes to fruition I can watch the wreckage and laugh at it.

Take it with a grain of salt, and in the meantime follow this random Joe to watch him fend off attackers (@joebisceglie).

Ruh Roh Ryan

brauncheat

It would appear that Ryan Braun knew Anthony Bosch (Biogenisis Lab Guy) a little bit better than he led on:

The list was written in April, in the hand of Biogenesis of America clinic founder Anthony Bosch. Among the names is the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun, and to the right of that name is a figure: $1,500.

That list, a source familiar with Bosch’s operation told “Outside the Lines,” indicates that those players received performance-enhancing drugs from Bosch, and owed him money. The document, one of dozens obtained by “Outside the Lines,” suggests a closer link to Bosch and the now-shuttered clinic he ran in Coral Gables, Fla., than Braun has acknowledged.

I used to think Ryan Braun was pretty nifty. At this point, he’s moving into A-Rod territory pretty quickly. I want this guy to go down and go down hard.

And if he’s innocent, I’ll worry about apologies later. $1500 is a lot of coin to pay for advice, though.

Image h/t: ESPN OTL

MLB 13 The Show Cover Vote Kicks Off

Today over on MLB.com, MLB ’13 the Show launched it’s cover vote with seven of the finest candidates imaginable taking center stage.

Andrew McCutchen has jumped out to an early surprising lead, but our favorite candidate is trying to pull out all the stops.

Voting has gone the way of the All-Star game, and if you have a twitter account it’s fairly simple. You just have to release a tweet into the cyberworld stating “#MLB13HARPER” to cast a vote for Harper.

It’s already the greatest video game on the planet, let alone baseball game ever made. Producers of The Show have again pulled out all the stops in not only aligning themselves with MLB.com but ensuring that whoever ends up on the cover will assuredly be one of the game’s most rising stars.

And although we wouldn’t mind seeing Cutch, Miggy, Posey, or even Braun on the cover; no one makes more sense from a marketability standpoint than that of Harper.

Even Hardball Talk had a post up about it today, props on the gif of the old school Atari. Baseball really is abuzz about The Show 13.

Game 28, 2012: Reds put it all together in 6-1 win over Brewers

[Box Score]

[Cincinnati.com] [Mark Sheldon] [Redleg Nation]

This was one of the most complete efforts on the year so far for the Reds. It probably starts with Bunny Arroyo’s fine outing on the mound. He somehow struck out nine Brewers, allowed only the mammoth home run to Ryan Braun and walked just one. He’s now 2-1 on the season with a 2.75 ERA. The Reds starters are getting it done, between Bunny’s fine effort and what Mat Latos did on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

The Reds pounded out another ten hits last night, with a lot of the damage coming in that big 4th inning. This is either the first time they’ve been a couple games over .500 this season, or it sure feels like it. It’s really no time to relax even though they’ve taken four of five and 11 of 16 games. This is the time to keep the foot on the gas and make a run.

How about Bruce’s monster home run last night? That was the longest home run I’ve ever seen him hit. He ran it with humility and didn’t show up Marco Estrada, but that thing traveled to Kenosha, WI. Couple of hits for Brandon Phillips, couple of hits for Ryan Hanigan, Zach Cozart homered; everyone really contributed.

Homer Bailey and Yovani Gallardo I’m a little worried about tonight.

Highlights:

Bruce hits a MONSTER 442-foot home run (9)

Bunny Arroyo was magnificent

Welcome back, Miguel Cairo

Zach Cozart solo bomb (3) ties the game

Joey Votto RBI Double gives the Reds the lead

Ryan Braun goes yard off Bronson Arroyo early, his 9th

Potpourri:

-Jay Bruce’s home run is worth checking out Hit Tracker for the first time this year if you haven’t.

-Behind Atlanta’s Michael Bourn, Bruce has the second longest active hitting streak in baseball now at 10 games. He’s gone 15 of 37, for a .405 average. He’s slugging 1.027 during the life of the streak. He’s got six homers, 12 RBI, and ten runs during it. Bruce had two 12-game hitting streaks as a rookie.

-Check out my buddy Dave here with Sal Fasano, on “What it takes to be a great catcher”. I remember when Jeff Pearlman told me that Fasano was one of the best pro-athletes he had ever met in terms of humility and just being a great human being. Great work on this Dave.

-Ended up owing my wife a trip to UDF for ice-cream when the Reds had that big inning. Where’s the Peach!?!?

10 Bold Predictions for 2012: The Cincinnati Reds make the NLCS

As part of our preview for the upcoming 2012 season, we’ll be doing a 10 Bold Predictions for 2012 series that will be featured between now and Opening Day. Our fifth installment of this prediction series is that the Cincinnati Reds are one of two NLCS representatives in 2012.

There’s people out there that won’t want to believe me–but my wife will serve as my witness on this (she would NEVER lie for me). I have been talking about the 2012 Cincinnati Reds making a possible World Series run for several years now.

The night my wife will remember me saying it was when the outs were starting to melt away in that NLDS game three versus the Phillies back in 2010. As I sat there in the last row of the stadium with her, I said “we’re really going to get swept. It’s really going to end like this”. I was right. The Reds got shutout by Cole Hamels on a night when he had his best stuff. But I made a prediction I have felt so strongly about for so long.

“Mark my words, this team will be back. They’ll miss out on the playoffs in 2011 and then they’re going to come roaring back and go after the whole thing in 2012. That’s been the year all along: 2012″.

Now, because she’s a woman and things like that aren’t important to her she wouldn’t be able to recite my exact prediction. But she can attest to the fact that her husband has never felt more strongly about something happening in sports than the Cincinnati Reds impending 2012 run to the World Series. This is because I’ve also reminded her countless times over the last year.

And I’ve hedged my prediction some. I don’t think they’re going to the World Series. Our season predictions won’t go up until next week on this site but I still don’t fully know who this mystery opponent who will knock off the Reds in the 2012 NLCS will even be yet. But someone’s knocking them off. All I know is they’re going to get that far, and they’re not going to make the World Series. And I feel like it’s going to be in six games that the NLCS lasts. Just enough so that you have some hopes and dreams of the Reds really playing for the whole thing. But they’re going to fall tragically short like all of our heroes eventually do. And that’s because they’re my team. That’s why they’re not going to the World Series. But mark my words, before this thing gets completely blown up and the Reds nucleus as you know it is disbanded, they’re going to take you on a ride that you haven’t been on in a long, long time.

I love the make up of this roster. I think there are any number of players who could go from respectable Major League professionals to star pretty easily because they have the pedigree and I think they’ve got the ability to truly be more than solid. Many of these guys moved up through the minor league system together and have grown up as ballplayers together. The chemistry in this organization with this group of players is not overstated as it so often is around baseball. These guys like each-other and have a strong clubhouse. They’ve also all reached that ‘peak ‘and ‘prime’ age around the same time. When you get several guys who have career years together you see teams come out of nowhere and take off.

Last year was absolutely painful for my heart and huge hit to my mental health at times. Just writing on this blog each day was a challenge because I was lamenting the fact it was baseball season as the Reds floundered their way through 162. Sometimes in baseball that just happens. And sometimes in life things happen for a reason that you never come to understand. And the reason the Reds of 2011 were so bad was so that they could fly under the radar in 2012. The baseball Gods made me purge my joys last season so that it could be a summer long party in 2012.

Aside from the Reds being able to once again sneak up on some teams quietly–something they lacked the ability to do from game one in 2011–it’s been the perfect storm off-season with some of the things that have happened. Let’s examine some of the things that have taken place that are going to allow the Reds to make a run in 2012:

  1. Reds trade for Matt Latos. Alright, he’s not an ace in my opinion yet. But it’s another lottery ticket thrown in the raffle of guys who could be aces for the Reds. And I still see Cueto, Bailey, and now Latos as guys who could have that type of ‘stopper’ season for the Reds. Give me the ball on day five and let me go get you a ballgame and end this slide or keep this streak going.
  2. Albert Pujols leaves the Cardinals for the Angels. Why don’t you do me a favor, look up what Albert Pujols did against the Reds over his career (Actually, let me do that for you. 172 GP, .350, 46 HR, 143 RBI, 10 steals/zero caught stealing, 92 BB, 50 K’s, .430/.641/1.072). Look, I’ll miss seeing the guy’s pure talent a few times a summer, but let’s get serious I can do without him making me miserable in the form of game winning grand slams and such. AL West foes, you enjoy that.
  3. Prince Fielder signs with the Detroit Tigers. Maybe the second greatest offensive lethal weapon in the National League, and he’s leaving the NL Central too! Now this is just gravy. People forget he’ll just be 28 years old this season, he is in his prime years and he will still torture pitching staffs for about 4 or 5 more seasons before he’s ‘getting old’ or no matter how big that spare tire gets.
  4. Ryan Braun is suspended for PED use for 40 games. Yea. Shit. Damn you formality. This would have been the nail in the Brewers coffin, trust me. They lucked out here.
  5. Chris Carpenter is out 3 to 4 months with a bulging disk. Chris Carpenter scares me. He’s fiery, he eats innings, you can hang a few runs on him in the first inning of a game and then he one hits you the rest of the way. He’s the type of catalyst ace that few guys around the big leagues truly are. This is a huge void for the Cardinals. And I found out they’re going to Opening Day start Kyle Lohse. A man doesn’t deserve such a life of luxury folks. I am that man.
  6. Adam Wainwright returns from Tommy-John surgery.People want to talk about Wainwright being the sleeper of the year. Look, he’s good and I have no doubts he’ll return to his previous levels of performance. But give me one guy who came back and was his dominant old self his first half season back from Tommy-John surgery. There aren’t any. Reds luck out again here. I’m still warm and fuzzy inside with memories of that February day last year.
  7. Theo Epstein got his hands on the Cubs a bit too late. Theo will turn the Cubbies around but it’s going to take time. Are they still employing the likes of Ryan Dempster and Alfonso Soriano? Bryan LaHair at first base? It’s going to be a fun season of making fun of Cubs fans again.
  8. The Phillies are a mess. I expect a regression from Cliff Lee. Roy Halladay has been nothing if not touch and go this spring. Jimmy Rollins is getting old. Chase Utley is hurt. Ryan Howard is hurt. The Phillies do not scare me. Not in the slightest.
  9. The Reds sign Sean Marshall. This guy is like the nastiest lefty in baseball. He’s not gonna crap out like Ricky Rincon did when the Indians went out and tried to make a splash in getting a nasty lefty to bolster a great pen. He’s going to get first dibs on the closer role, and I think he’s going to have a fine audition.

I could keep going, but these are all things that have made it a wonderful off-season towards building my case for the Reds run to the 2012 NLCS.

We led off the prediction series by telling you that Jay Bruce was going to be the 2012 MVP. But now for some of the unheralded guys who will pay off huge for the Redlegs in 2012. Chris Heisey, Homer Bailey, Ryan Ludwick, and the rebound of guys like Scott Rolen and Drew Stubbs will pay off for the Reds. Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto will play their usual role.

You look in the pen and the Reds have some serious firepower. Jose Arredondo is a year into his own Tommy-John recovery, and the Reds have Bill Bray, Nick Masset, Aroldis Chapman, Marshall, and some other very capable arms that will be down in that bullpen. They’re deep. Especially if Ryan Madson hadn’t gotten hurt. But we’re here to focus on why this prediction will come true.

The Reds are about to give you the finest season since 1990, if you can just make it until October. This is going to be the year and I want you to remember where you heard it. Just don’t expect too much ultimately. I’ll sign up for an NLCS run and take my chances from there right now.

On Ryan Braun’s Positive Test Result


Programming note – as previously seen over at Tomahawk Take.

Other Takes: Deadspin | Grantland – Jonah Keri | Sporting News | Sports Illustrated | New York Daily News

A 4 to 1 ratio amount of testosterone positive test result. That’s all it took for one of the brightest stars in today’s game to be reduced to just another prince who turned into a pumpkin for us right at midnight.

Braun says it’s “B.S.”, literally.

I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m truly shocked.

Here we have a guy who we should be praising for being a shining example of what a ballplayer should be. He is coming off his first MVP season in which his team made the NLCS, and he’s began his career with five of the finest seasons that a player has ever compiled offensively. With Prince Fielder taking a stage left exit, the Brewers become Braun’s team. I believe that we were on the cusp of this becoming Ryan Braun’s league. Those are the things we should be talking about when we talk about Ryan Braun.

But for the rest of time now–no matter what happens–we’re going to be talking about something different.

I got a text after the world heard the news Saturday night. It read: “Braun is innocent until proven guilty.”

I used to be less jaded, but I think it’s the other way around nowadays. I think a player, any player; is guilty until proven innocent. And unfortunately in this case we’re talking about a player who you would not suspect anything of the sort from.

Braun doesn’t look like what we were taught the poster child of steroids looks like. He isn’t muscle bound, and he’s not a lot bigger than he was when he entered the game of baseball, if at all. Braun looks like a well conditioned ballplayer. In the past when players have used PED’s, they look like Bonds, or McGwire, or Sosa. We see no overgrowth of muscles or veins.

The same thing keeps running through my mind. Too often when there has been smoke, there’s surely fire to follow. I don’t believe this is going to be different–though we’re told that this is a case unlike any that we’ve seen before in baseball from sources close to the situation.

From the Deadspin post:

A very good source on the Ryan Braun side of the drug testing controversy assures me that Braun did not test positive for a performance-enhancing drug, as reported by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

[...]

But my source—and again, this is from Braun’s end and not MLB—familiar with the test’s findings says the “prohibited substance” was not a performance-enhancing drug or steroid of any kind. And the source says there has “never” been a result like this in the history of the MLB testing program.

 

I simply don’t buy it. Not anymore. And I suppose when I really think hard about it–when I really sat there and read the alert text over and over again Saturday night on my phone–the shock wore off a lot quicker than it used to.

If Ryan Braun can be guilty of this, I think anyone in baseball can. Anyone. This is obviously a player with such rare natural ability who never needed the usage of anything to refine his game. I believe Braun is as talented as anyone in the game today and if he’s dirty, I don’t think we could be accused at pointing our finger in vein at anyone anymore.

I don’t understand all the specifics of what is involved in a situation like this, but it appears to me that what got Braun caught was not the actual agent itself but something that was covering the agent that would have gotten him caught.

This is a real shame, and I think that living in the age we do that all the truth will eventually come to light. We’ll know close to the whole story, and it’s going to further darken the view of the fan who is like me. I try to enjoy and appreciate the various special talents from around the league and game of baseball because I really love the game. When something like this happens, it makes me believe that the things we see are somewhat artificial; and it makes me realize that I can never again live in an age like my father and grandfather did where the great ones derived their power from chopping wood and eating oats. And that’s not fair, because I think we deserve an era like that too.

I’m in Braun’s corner, I’m rooting for him. I just don’t have high hopes for the situation.

The Brewers know Prince Fielder has played his last game as a Brewer

This news stems from a Buster Olney tweet, but I don’t like linking tweets in case for some reason that twitter account gets hacked and the tweet gets deleted or in case Buster Olney leaves ESPN and is no longer twitter handle ‘Buster_ESPN’ and all that good stuff. So I’ll link Hardball Talk where I originally read the post.

Brewers indicating to others they are pretty much out on Prince Fielder, and are moving on.

Short and sweet, and a bummer for Brewers fans who never got to see a Prince/Braun team make it to a Fall Classic. It’s hard to feel sorry for a franchise that has Ryan Braun as their centerpiece. Cecil and Prince take their act to a new big league city. Or maybe they’re just done. Stay tuned to this development.