Skip to content

Deadspin has a pretty controversial theory on the Braun decision

Feb 28, 2012, 8:49 AM EDT

ryan braun wide getty Getty Images

Over at Deadspin, Tommy Craggs offers a potential theory of why Ryan Braun won his arbitration, even though many believe the case against him was so strong:

Over the weekend, however, I spoke with someone familiar with the arbitration process in general. He had another theory: Ryan Braun didn’t get off because of the merits of his case; he got off because the arbitrator who cast the decisive vote in Braun’s favor—the vote with which baseball “vehemently disagrees”—was thinking about his own future.

The upshot: arbitrator Shyam Das serves at the pleasure of both the union and the league. He has ruled against players an awful lot lately, especially on drug cases, and he used the Braun case as a means to balance the scales a bit so the union wouldn’t get fed up with him and fire him from his lucrative and high-profile gig. As Craggs puts it “If ever there were a case for Das to throw to the players, it was this one.”

Possible? Well, I suppose anything is possible. But saying that an arbitrator is placing his self interest ahead of the case in front of him is an extraordinarily serious charge. One which I’d feel a lot more comfortable entertaining if it was based on something more than a theory from “someone familiar with the arbitration process in general.”  Because really, this is not terribly different from saying that a judge threw a case because he was thinking about his reelection.

Less broadly, the theory has a major problem:  if the arbitrator was really throwing this thing — a case where it seems most people who are not Ryan Braun’s legal team think MLB should have won — it’s just as likely if not more so that Major League Baseball would get angry and fire Das.  At least it’s a risk, so what would Das have to gain here by being unethical?

What would not be as risky is if Das were to make a well-reasoned decision that explains why this case, and not any others, had this particular outcome. It would satisfy the union because it would be based in reason and would have an outcome with which they were happy. It would satisfy the league, eventually anyway, because it would be based in reason, would not present a scenario that would be replicable in future appeals and would provide a road map to the league about how to fix the problem.

We’re going to get Das’ reasoning, by the way, within a few weeks, so we’ll be able to judge that for ourselves.  Until then, I’m loathe to accuse this man of violating ethical considerations in reaching the decision he reached.

Latest Posts
  1. Felix Hernandez and Chris Archer dueled. Chris Archer, by one measure, pitched better. Felix Hernandez won.

    May 27, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Getty Images

    Game scores are interesting things. Wins — the team kind, anyway — are far more satisfying.

  2. Orioles drop $5 million outfielder Alejandro De Aza

    May 27, 2015, 2:18 PM EDT

    Alejandro De Aza AP AP

    De Aza played very well for the Orioles down the stretch last season.

  3. Angels acquire outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Mets

    May 27, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Kirk Nieuwenhuis Getty Images

    Several reports last week had the Angels in the market for outfield help.

  4. The “Selig Experience” attraction opens this week at Miller Park

    May 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT

    MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York Reuters

    “A multimedia show featuring a virtual Selig.” Yes, that’s actually a thing.

  5. Matt Wieters begins rehab assignment with two hits

    May 27, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Matt Wieters Getty Getty Images

    He’s about 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery.

  6. Cubs release left-hander Phil Coke

    May 27, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT

    Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Phil Coke throws against the Milwaukee Brewers during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks) AP

    Coke signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Cubs this offseason.

  7. Buster Olney: The Marlins should hire A-Rod to be their next manager

    May 27, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT

    Alex Rodriguez AP

    And you think my A-Rod trolling kung-fu is the best. Heck, I’m an amateur.

  8. Matt Adams is hurt, so the Cardinals turn to Mark Reynolds

    May 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    matt adams getty Getty Images

    Adams hurt his quadriceps while running out a double.

  9. Video: Carlos Correa hit a monster home run in Fresno

    May 27, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    carlos correa getty Getty Images

    He has three homers and is hitting .283/.353/.500 in 14 Triple-A games. At the age of 20.

  10. Rays release Grant Balfour for the second time this season

    May 27, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Grant Balfour AP

    Last month the Rays released right-hander Grant Balfour from his $7 million big-league contract and then re-signed him to a minor-league deal.

  11. Video: Kris Bryant hit a 477-foot homer off the new video board at Wrigley Field

    May 27, 2015, 9:52 AM EDT

    Kris Bryant Getty Images

    It smacked off the new video board at Wrigley Field, depriving the folks on Waveland Avenue of a home run ball.

  12. Breaking down the Braves-Dodgers trade

    May 27, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 26: Juan Uribe #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on April 26, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

    No real clear winner, no real clear loser. Indeed, in this trade, that’s almost beside the point.

  13. Kevin Cash on umpiring in the Rays-M’s game: “It’s terrible. They ought to be embarrassed.”

    May 27, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    Kevin Cash Getty Images

    Major League Baseball will likely fine Cash for his postgame comments. Because, while umpires don’t have much apparent accountability for their actions, managers do.

  14. Justin Verlander threw four simulated innings on Tuesday

    May 26, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    justin verlander getty Getty Images

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander took what might be the final step before a rehab assignment Tuesday afternoon at Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum …

  15. Jean Segura to return from fractured pinkie on Friday

    May 26, 2015, 10:32 PM EDT

    jean segura getty Getty Images

    Brewers shortstop Jean Segura appeared to be in for an extended absence when he landed on the disabled list May 14 with a fracture in the pinkie on his throwing hand …

  16. So that Juan Uribe trade to the Braves is back on …

    May 26, 2015, 9:56 PM EDT

    uribe getty Getty Images

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the trade is done and is only awaiting approval from the commissioner’s office.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3610)
  2. A. Pujols (3329)
  3. J. Lucroy (3316)
  4. Y. Puig (3167)
  5. D. Wright (3124)
  1. D. Travis (3063)
  2. R. Castillo (2884)
  3. B. Harper (2738)
  4. A. Garcia (2507)
  5. B. Zobrist (2497)