Breakfast Links: MLB targeting Braun, Bad news for Hanley?, Figgins is released

USA TODAY Sports

Oh, man. I can't believe it's Thursday already. Have I really been that unproductive this week? Bummer.

Anyways... Today we're talking about MLB's ongoing investigation into Biogenesis and the ultimately harmful grudge they may hold on Ryan Braun, how the Dodgers may be without their shortstop/third baseman(?) for the first few months, and the sad career arc of one Chone Figgins. Also, Jeter may miss Opening Day after all, Roy Oswalt is looking for teams to lay the red carpet again, and Chien-Ming Wang holds a tryout.

The Big Three

1. So the big news yesterday is that over 9,000 at least 90 players are believed to be listed in the Biogenesis records that MLB is investigating. That's a lot. What the distribution of MLB and MiLB players is among the 90 is unknown, as is whether their names are listed with any connection to PEDs, meaning that there's still a (slim) chance Cesar Carrillo ends up being the only guy suspended for his ties to the clinic. What became the bigger story, however, is that the league is allegedly going out of their way to "get" Ryan Braun, and that they're willing to offer immunity to players for coming clean. I'm not a legal expert of any kind, but both of those things sound really sketchy and could come back to haunt the league for a long time if they do go that route. The glue that holds the Joint Drug Agreement together is the fact that it's a blind, zero-tolerance policy. There is nothing in the agreement that talks about immunity of any kind, and certainly nothing about targeting specific players. In fact, I'm pretty sure it says the whole thing is supposed to be anonymous. Isn't that failure how we got into this whole Ryan Braun mess in the first place? MLB is not a government body, meaning they have very, very limited power when it comes to investigations. I understand wanting to at least give the illusion of being powerful and in charge, but don't shoot yourself in the foot in the process.

2. If you thought the Dodgers' left-side of the infield was questionable before, wait 'til they're forced to go the first two months of the season without Hanley Ramirez. Their star infielder injured his thumb in the final game of the WBC on Tuesday, and the injury could sideline him for anywhere from two to 10 weeks, depending on the results of the MRI. Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz seem the most likely candidates to patrol the left side in Hanley's absence, which makes you kind of wonder how LA managed to spend all that money and still be left with that kind of production when just one player goes down. Hanley's MRI results should come in some time Thursday.

3. The Marlins released Chone Figgins yesterday, likely putting an end to his once-promising and now very sad career. The veteran was in camp sort of bidding for Miami's third base job, which will now likely go to Placido Polanco. The now 35-year-old Figgins was a godsend in Anaheim from 2005-2009, and nothing really seemed to portend a sharp decline in numbers once he left Southern California. But holy hell did they decline. Figgins is still owed $8 million by the Seattle Mariners this season, so he's not going to lack for money for quite some time, but that probably doesn't make it much easier for him to stomach that his career is over.

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In Other News...

1. Derek Jeter is still listed as day-to-day with some mild swelling in his ankle, but it appears there's still a possibility that he'll miss Opening Day for the Yankees. The Captain had a cortisone shot (steroid!) in his ankle yesterday to kill the inflammation, but that doesn't mean their April 1 infield won't necessarily be Youkilis-Nunez-Cano-Rivera. Ouch.

2. Roy Oswalt is back in the news, and is apparently looking to "pitch for a contender." Well, don't hold your breath. I have a pretty strong suspicion that no one is going to pay much attention to the man behind the curtain. Not because they don't realize he's there, but because he's just much more hassle than he's worth at this point.

3. Chien-Ming Wang is still looking for a home after a strong showing in the World Baseball Classic. The right-hander held a tryout at the Yankees' minor-league complex Wednesday, so it's possible he'll reunite with his old club, but other teams may come calling as well.

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Thoughtful Thursday

I'm reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao right now.

It's a wonderfully-written novel -- winner of the Pulitzer, apparently -- filled with all sorts of fascinating historical/cultural information about the Dominican Republic alongside hilarious, unexpected analogies to LOTR, comic books, and essentially anything nerdy. It's a strange juxtaposition, but it works really well somehow.

I highly recommend it.

Any new reads on your bedside table?

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