The past three National League MVPs have come from the Central Division. Just a few days ago it looked probable if not certain that all three would be suiting up for their original teams on Opening Day. But two shocking stories - the Angels stealth signing of Albert Pujols and Ryan Braun's reported positive steroids test - leaves only Joey Votto among the three as a potential NL MVP candidate for 2012. That's the only good news this past week for the tightfisted Reds.
Team Braun preps defense strategy
Ryan Braun will appeal his positive test at an arbitration hearing in January. His legal team isn't divulging their strategy yet, but there are hints at what will be argued: "The early-October test that was positive for Braun revealed such an abnormally, almost off-the-charts level of testosterone, it can be argued as being invalid or tainted.... When apprised of the positive result a couple of weeks later, Braun requested an immediate retesting, which was normal. So, he could argue that so much testosterone could not have completely disappeared over that time frame, which of course can be debated." The author claims that players are 0-12 in PED test appeals, but old friend Will Carroll disagrees.
- Whatever the arbitration panel decides, the BBWAA will not be taking a re-vote of the 2011 NL MVP award.
Tom Verducci names the winners of the winter meetings
Among them: "Regional sports networks. Twelve months ago Moreno was complaining about Carl Crawford money (seven years, $142 million.) What changed? He lined up a new local TV deal that could pay him almost twice the current annual rate of $50 million -- even with the second-worst ratings in baseball. Sports programming is hot. It provides loads of content and, most importantly, content that is DVR-proof." Maury Brown talks more about Anaheim's new revenue streams: "$150 million represents the value of the Lakers television deal and the proposed new Angels deal with Fox. This would give the Angels the third-largest television revenue after the Yankees and Red Sox for the time being. The team will bring in over a billion dollars in television revenue over the life of the contract."
Sheldon recaps the winter meetings
Walt Jocketty offers a helpful dose of optimism: "We've made significant progress in a couple of directions with clubs. I feel confident we'll still get something done this winter." There's also some video of Jocketty discussing the Votto negotiations.
- With some money to burn after losing Pujols, the Cardinals re-signed Rafael Furcal for two years, $14M
Not a bad deal at all - if he stays healthy.
Tender is the day
Today is the deadline for the team to offer arbitration to those eligible: Jose Arredondo, Bill Bray, Homer Bailey, Paul Janish, Nick Masset and Edinson Volquez. Fay suspects that the team will tender all six contracts, with the possible exception of Janish. He also suggests the Reds go after Ryan Theriot, who may not be tendered by St. Louis. Pass.
Our friend Doug Gray takes stock in the system's Centerfielders
There's some depth here, starting with the Dave Sappelt Show. I wasn't pleased with Sappelt's efforts during his call-up, but hopefully he's learned a few things about The Show and will be a valuable OF contributor. If so, Chris Heisey could be expendable.
- OMGreds has the goods on bobbleheads for next year
Among the team bobbleheads, only Johnny Cueto makes his debut. Sean Casey and Dan Driessen will also be bobbleheaded due to their recent induction into the Reds' HOF.
- Reds Country has holiday gift ideas for the female fan
Including a Nike T-shirt with a Reds logo saying "Can’t Hit On Me", and possibly the likeness of Paul Janish on the back.
- But no matter how hard Red Hot Mama wishes,
Joey Votto will not be a stocking stuffer.