Tag:Brewers
Posted on: March 5, 2012 9:12 pm
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Marcum will miss first spring start

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Brewers said Monday that they're shutting down Shaun Marcum for 2-3 days, because of right shoulder soreness. They said he'll miss his first scheduled spring training start, but they also said they're not overly concerned.

Should they be?

Perhaps not, because when Marcum dealt with the same issue last spring, he was still ready to start the season on time. He still made 33 starts, still topped 200 innings.

And, manager Ron Roenicke said, "We don't think it's as bad as last year."

Roenicke said that the way it's mapped out, if Marcum comes through the next few days without trouble, he could actually be ahead of the schedule he had last spring.


Category: MLB
Posted on: February 29, 2012 5:19 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 5:24 pm
 

Rollins didn't leave, but sure thought about it

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jimmy Rollins has never played for any team but the Phillies. With a new three-year contract that will take him through to when he's 36, and a vesting option that could take him to age 37, there's a real chance now that Rollins will never play for any team but the Phillies.

But he sure did think about it.

Rollins said Wednesday that he was intrigued enough by the idea of playing at home in California that he even considered signing a one-year contract that would have allowed him to become a free agent again next winter.

The idea would have been that the Giants, who could use Rollins but had no money to chase him this winter, could be in a better position next year, when they won't be paying Aaron Rowand and will be entering the final year of Barry Zito's contract.

The Giants still need to pay Tim Lincecum and need money to keep Matt Cain as well, so there's no guarantee they would have chased Rollins next winter, either. Rollins, who grew up in Oakland, said he only knows that the Giants "had some players asking around" about him earlier last season.

In the end, Rollins opted for security, and opted to stay with the Phillies. Truth be told, it would have been hard for him to leave the only organization he has known, even if the California option had been open to him.

"This is where I've been since I was 17 years old," Rollins said. "If you go somewhere else, for a while, you would feel like a traitor."

Rollins did have strong interest from the Brewers, but he didn't want to leave Philadelphia to go to Milwaukee. Had there been interest from the Giants or another team in California, the decision would no doubt have been tougher.




Category: MLB
Posted on: February 24, 2012 5:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 5:54 pm
 

Is baseball's drug program still credible?

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- If Ryan Braun has work to do rebuilding his image, so does Major League Baseball.

If you don't believe that, then listen to what Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said Friday when I asked him if he worries about the integrity of baseball's drug program.

"I do now," Jones said.

That's a problem.

If the fallout of the Braun case is that players don't trust the drug program to be fair, then the program itself loses all the credibility it needs.

Baseball and the players union obviously understand that, and it was no surprise that both the commissioner's office and the union issued statements late Friday afternoon defending the program.

"Our program is not 'fatally flawed,'" MLB said in its statement, countering a charge that Braun made in his press conference earlier Friday in Arizona.

"Our Joint Drug Program stands as strong, as accurate and as reliable as any in sport, both before and after the Braun decision," the union said.

The union couldn't resist taking a shot at management, saying that the arbitrator's decision in Braun's favor was "deserving of respect by both bargaining parties."

But the bigger issue here isn't who liked the decision or who didn't. The bigger issue isn't whether the decision hinged on a "technicality."

It's whether players still trust the system.

Braun is a part of it, because of the respect players around the game have for him. Support for him seemed to be near-universal in the Braves clubhouse on Friday, and the belief seemed to be that at least in this case, the system had holes.

"It's fishy," catcher Brian McCann said. "The guy who [collected the sample] doesn't need to be doing it anymore. It's terrible.

"It should never ever, ever happen."

Jones and other Braves players suggested that they would have been more comfortable if the urine sample had been held by someone who didn't know which player it came from, eliminating any chance that a collector with a grudge against one player could try to take action.

But most of all, they expressed strong support for Braun.

"I believe Ryan, because I know him," Jones said. "I believe him. He's not a guy you look at and say he's on something. I sincerely believe he didn't take anything."

But Jones also understands the uphill battle that Braun now faces to save his reputation.

"Yes, there's always going to be doubt, and that's what's unfair," he said. "Once your name is associated [with steroids], you might as well wear a scarlet letter."

The problem for baseball is that its drug program is now associated with the Ryan Braun case.

And even if this really is "the highest quality drug testing program of any professional sports organization in the world," as MLB claimed in its Friday statement, it's a program that is now very much on the stand, and very much on the defensive.

MLB defended the sample collector, calling him "extremely experienced" and saying he "acted in a professional and appropriate manner."

The players aren't convinced, and that's a problem that baseball needs to address.

No drug program is of any use if it lacks credibility. Right now, the credibility of this program is at stake.

Posted on: February 24, 2012 9:09 am
 

Prince on Braun: 'It's great news'

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Prince Fielder's reaction to the Ryan Braun decision?

"It's great," Fielder said Friday morning at the Tigers' spring training camp. "It's great news."

Fielder and Braun were teammates for the last five years with the Brewers, but they're not close friends. Still, Fielder retains strong feelings for the Brewers, saying Thursday that he would like to see them go to the World Series, "and then lose to us."

Fielder said he hadn't spoken to Braun this winter, and hadn't closely followed the case.

"I have a life, too," he said. "I was trying to get a job there, for a while."

As to the question of whether Thursday's ruling should be enough to clear Braun's name, Fielder offered no real opinion.

"I don't know," he said. "Obviously, it says he's not guilty. He says he was innocent, so that's what it was."

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 23, 2012 6:31 pm
 

Don't believe Braun now? Sorry, can't help you

So you still don't believe Ryan Braun?

Sorry, I can't help you.

So you're now claiming that the process is rigged, or that baseball didn't really want Braun suspended?

Sorry, can't help you.

Go ahead and tell me that it's "corrupt," as one Twitter follower wrote after Thursday's decision was announced in Braun's favor. Go ahead and call him a "coward," as another tweeter said.

Sorry, can't help you, because in that case you're not interested in justice.

And as for the idea that one not-guilty verdict taints other positive tests, seriously? When one criminal trial ends with not-guilty, do we empty the jails because every other conviction must be wrong, too?

If baseball or any other sport is going to have a drug-testing system, there needs to be a way for a player to appeal a positive test. If there's going to be an appeal process, it needs to be fair enough that if the player makes a legitimate case that the test was flawed, he gets off.

Ryan Braun's people made that case, and an independent arbitrator agreed with them, with his vote swinging a 2-to-1 decision on a three-man panel that also included a representative from the commissioner's office and one from the players' union.

That's an independent arbitrator, independent enough that MLB quickly issued a statement saying it "vehemently disagrees" with the decision.

Braun's people made the case that the chain of custody was a problem, that the sample wasn't sent for 48 hours after Braun took the test. They made the case with the help, no doubt, from an abnormally-spiked testosterone level in the test in question, and in a clean test that Braun took after the first result came back positive.

It's a tough case to prove, and that's why when the news of Braun's failed test first surfaced in December, the strong assumption was that his appeal had little chance of success. No one had ever successfully overturned a suspension before.

But if there never was going to be a first one to succeed, why have the appeal process at all? And if you're not going to have an appeal process, well, you explain to me how that's fair.

What's unfair right now is that news of the Braun positive test got out in the first place, and that it unfairly taints his reputation. You see now why the players insisted on confidentiality, with a suspension only announced after the appeal process was complete.

In all cases before this one, the news never did get out before the appeal.

So how should we look at Ryan Braun now?

With sympathy, I'd say. A flawed test is useless as proof of anything, so unless he fails a test where there is no question about the method or the chain of custody, he's as innocent as any other player in the game today.

Does this mean that MLB is clean? No. Does it mean that MLB won't take on its biggest stars? Definitely not.

Does it mean that Ryan Braun is absolutely clean? There's absolutely no way to know that, just as there's no way to know it with certainty about any player.

But with this verdict, he gets as much the benefit of the doubt as anyone else.

So what does this mean, then?

It means that the system works.

If you can't accept an independent arbitrator ruling in Braun's favor, then what exactly would you accept?

If the answer is nothing, then I go back to the start.

Sorry, can't help you.

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 17, 2012 3:26 pm
 

Aoki to sign with Brewers

The Brewers are close to agreement on a multiyear deal with three-time Japanese batting champ Norichika Aoki, CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman reports.

The Brewers won the rights to negotiate with Aoki with a $2.5 million posting bid last month, and their negotiating window with him was due to close at 5 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday. Aoki, a center fielder with the Yakult Swallows, has been compared by some to Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino.

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 17, 2012 12:54 pm
Edited on: January 17, 2012 2:23 pm
 

Hamels avoids arbitration, Lincecum doesn't

Cole Hamels signed a new contract Tuesday. Tim Lincecum didn't.

Hamels will get $15 million plus performance bonuses from the Phillies. Lincecum will exchange arbitration numbers with the Giants.

And none of that changes the big picture, because neither Hamels nor Lincecum has a new long-term contract yet.

As of now, Hamels is still eligible for free agency after the 2012 season. Lincecum is eligible after 2013.

And both can (and certainly will) continue to discuss long-term deals that will keep them off the market.

Hamels, who made $9.5 million in 2011, agreed to 2012 contract just before the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to exchange contract figures with their teams. Lincecum will go through the arbitration process, although he and the Giants can continue to work on a deal while awaiting a hearing.

According to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, Hamels' new deal also would pay him $100,000 if he's named the Most Valuable Player, $250,000 if he wins the Cy Young Award, $100,000 for World Series MVP and $50,000 each for LCS MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger or an All-Star appearance.

Tuesday was a deadline day for some teams that have a policy of not continuing negotiations after arbitration numbers are exchanged.






Posted on: December 12, 2011 5:09 pm
 

As Brewers move on, Cubs, Mariners look at Prince

With Monday's signing of Aramis Ramirez, the Brewers seem to have moved on from Prince Fielder.

But where will Fielder move on to?

The Cubs and Mariners are both in on the Fielder market, new CBSSports.com colleague Jon Heyman reported Monday. The Rangers, Blue Jays, Marlins, Orioles and Nationals, among others, could also be interested.

Fielder could be a particularly good fit in Chicago, especially with Dale Sveum as the new Cubs manager. Sveum was the Brewers hitting coach, and has a very good relationship with Fielder.

When Theo Epstein came over from the Red Sox to run the Cubs baseball operations, the thought was that he would stay away from high-priced free agents this winter, because the rebuilding process at Wrigley Field is expected to take several years.

But Fielder is just 27, young enough to fit into a long-term plan. Also, new rules that limit spending on draft and international signings leave the Cubs unable to speed up the process by outspending other teams on those markets.

The Mariners desperately need offense, and Fielder has long been considered a possibility. Like Sveum, Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has ties to Fielder. Zduriencik was the scouting director who drafted Fielder for the Brewers.

The thought among many in baseball, though, has been that Seattle won't be Fielder's preferred landing spot. It's as far as possible from his Florida home, the Mariners are unlikely to contend, and Safeco Field isn't friendly to power hitters.

The Rangers, with a team that has gone to the World Series two straight years and a ballpark that favors hitters, would no doubt be an attractive destination. But club president Nolan Ryan has played down any interest, insisting that he likes first baseman Mitch Moreland and that Fielder would be a difficult fit in the Rangers' budget.

The Blue Jays will eventually need to play on free agents like Fielder if they're as serious about being a big-market team as they say they are. But Toronto people have also suggested that they don't want to give out the type of long-term contract that Fielder will command.

The Marlins have given conflicting signals about their possible interest in Fielder, but at this point it seems safe to say they're not as excited about him as they were about the possibility of signing Albert Pujols.

The Orioles have long liked Fielder, but it's unclear how much money owner Peter Angelos is willing to spend this winter, and also uncertain how interested Fielder would be in going to a team that has shown little sign of being competitive in the American League East.

Nationals officials repeatedly insist that they won't pursue Fielder, but others in the game look at the team's strong working relationship with agent Scott Boras and wonder if that could change. The Nationals have Adam LaRoche signed to be their first baseman in 2012, and the long-term plan is to move Mike Morse from left fielder to first base.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com