With mediocre baseball steadily approaching Chicago the two most exciting topics for me are what will be coming out of the Commissioner’s office sometime next week; is Ryan Braun guilty and what will the Red Sox receive from the Cubs?
Let’s talk about Braun for a second and what’s at stake here for baseball. On one hand you have the black cloud of steroids still plaguing the game if Braun is found guilty, and on the other hand if Braun is found innocent then the legitimacy of baseball’s steroid drug testing would be questioned. What to do?
The rumor is Braun is completely innocent and tested positive because he was on a medication to treat a sexually transmitted disease that would cause his levels to post extremely high results. If found not guilty I’m not sure we’ll get the real story, however if baseball is worried about their integrity then we will definitely get the full story from Braun as he proclaims his innocence.
My thought is as all steroid related issues in baseball this one will blow over and people will forget about it no matter the decision, however I do feel that it would be better for baseball if Braun were found not guilty.
As if that wasn’t enough, Bud Selig must decide what is fair compensation for the Boston Red Sox for allowing Theo Epstein to leave the organization while under contract to take a promoted role with Chicago Cubs. Selig has stepped in because the Cubs believe that the Red Sox are asking too much in return for Epstein’s services, but the Red Sox must have a compelling enough case to keep this settlement at a stalemate for this long.
My belief is the Red Sox have presented a case stating ‘what the players meant to the organization’ in return for the services of a management position in a baseball organization citing both the Tampa Bay trade for Lou Piniella and the Florida trade for Ozzie Guillen.
Tampa Bay gave up Randy Winn to get the services of Piniella to manage their team. You might say Randy Winn, so what? Well, if you look at Randy Winn’s stats as a Tampa Ray at that point he was their franchise player. In 2002 his final year with the Rays he led the team in RBIs and stolen bases. He was clearly their best player at that point, but as time would tell he would always be just an average player on other ball clubs. It wasn’t that he was one of the best in baseball, but he was one of the best on the Rays if not the best player they had at the time.
Then you look at the Ozzie Guillen trade that sent two Florida prospects to the White Sox for Guillen and a White Sox prospect before the 2011 season ended. While you will not find either Jhan Marinez or Ozzie Martinez on any overall top prospects list you will find Marinez ranked as the top relief prospect in the Marlins organization, and Martinez ranked as the fifth overall Marlin’s prospect according to Baseball America. Martinez has a .326 major league batting average in 43 games, not too bad.
So, when the Red Sox are rumored to have asked for Matt Garza or top prospect, Brett Jackson, is it really too much? That’s the difficult task that now has fallen into Selig’s lap, but if the Cubs should have to give up either one of the aforementioned players for Epstein is it fair that they be held accountable for other teams’ actions? Just because other teams were willing to give up top level talent for managers does not mean the Cubs should be penalized for it.
If the Red Sox were only willing to except either Garza or Jackson for Epstein then they should have decided that before they let him go to the Cubs. I still believe the Cubs should have let Epstein stay in Boston and hired the rest of his management team that’s in place now. They could have essentially pulled off all the same offseason moves without him officially in place, and hired him next season without all the drama.
So, now Selig has to make a decision that somehow causes as little backlash as possible from two high profile teams and their fans. It’s going to be difficult to pull that off because if the Red Sox do not get what they are asking for then they will cry foul and if Selig awards either of the two rumored players to the Red Sox Cubs’ fans will be irate, I know I would if I were a fan, especially Jackson. If the Red Sox were smart they would ask for Trey McNutt and Wellington Castro, two top ten prospects that will help them in areas that they need help, pitching and catching, but I never said the Red Sox were smart.