Braun pic

It’s time for Ryan Braun to confess. When I first heard about his positive test for synthetic testosterone, I didn’t believe it. I bought Braun’s explanation the sample was tainted due to chain of custody issues. Who wants to believe the best player on their team is a fraud? Furthermore, Braun continued to put up All Star numbers even after the alleged positive test. Most accused cheaters have a massive drop in production and just aren’t the same. (Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera,  Sosa, Bonds, McGwire) Not Braun. He’s still as good as ever, so how could he have been cheating, and more importantly, why?

I’ve since changed my stance on this whole topic. After Braun’s name appeared on Tony Bosch’s list, I switched directions. It no longer passes the smell test for me. If you’re honest and a man of integrity like Braun claims to be, then why on earth would you associate with a guy like Bosch? You couldn’t find anybody else to do business with? I used to tell my kids when they were younger and hanging out with some questionable kids, “If you hang with the wrong crowd, you become the wrong crowd.” Braun is a pretty smart guy, so I have to assume he has some smart people in his circle, so it just doesn’t make sense to me he would conduct business with somebody like Tony Bosch. Now even if Braun is innocent, he’s guilty until proven innocent, because that’s the nature of the PED’s scandal.

We just found out Braun has been suspended the rest of the regular season without pay. Soon we will find out what evidence MLB has on Braun. I’m not claiming to be a genius, but I don’t think it takes one to figure out MLB is going to have its ducks in a row this time, especially after Braun embarrassed them with the alleged failed test. Granted MLB claims the evidence leaks haven’t come from them, where there’s smoke there’s fire. If he’s guilty and would just come out and admit he had poor judgment and show some remorse, the healing process could begin. Until then all we have are unanswered questions.

So the next question is, what do you do with Braun if he does get suspended? Obviously there’s isn’t much that can be done until he returns, but do you keep him or try to move him? Everywhere the team goes he’d be a distraction as the media would always refer to him as “one of those guys.” It’s really a tough situation for GM Doug Melvin, who already has a tough job trying to field a competitive team in a small market. Pitching is what wins consistently, and this team needs a bunch. The cupboard is bare in the minor leagues. If moving Braun would bring back some quality starting pitching, he should consider it. Of course this assumes Braun returns to form after his suspension. His contract off the books would allow the Brewers to pursue a quality free agent starting pitcher. Guys like Hiroki Kuroda, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza and Tim Lincecum look to be available next year.

It’s a difficult situation. If you would have asked me last year if I’d ever consider trading Braun, I would have looked at you like you were insane. Now I would at least consider the possibility.

In the meantime it appears this Brewers team is going to be in the selling position. Several players like John Axford, Nori Aoki, Mike Gonzalez, Francisco Rodriguez, and Yovanni Gallardo could be on different teams by the time August rolls around. Melvin has a history of getting good value for players, so lets hope that continues.

All this being said, as a diehard Brewer fan since the 80’s, I will still listen to each and every game. Bob Uecker makes a loss hurt just a little less. We don’t know how many more seasons we’ll have with “Ueck”, so we have to enjoy him while we can. Brewer fans live and die with their team and I’m proud to be a part of the following. As they always say, “there’s always next year.”

 

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