Melvin: Braun's actions moving forward 'will be the most important thing'
Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE - After a night to sleep on the statement suspended slugger Ryan Braun made to apologize for performance-enhancing drug use, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin says that what Braun does from now on will be the real determinant for fans to judge.
"His actions when he comes back will be the most important thing," Melvin told Colin Cowherd on ESPN2 and ESPN Radio.
Melvin expressed his own pain over the situation, but realized that his job cannot be about Ryan Braun when he's not allowed to hit and field in a Brewers uniform until 2014.
"You do take it personally at times. It's frustrating. GM's do get disappointed by players their whole career if you're in it long enough. But you do have to move forward. My focus has to be with the 25 players on the team, the 180 players in our minor league system. Our coaches' focus has to be with those players," said Melvin.
About hearing the news of what Braun did, Melvin admitted, "It's tough. I hold my emotions to myself a lot of times, but I was caught off guard. I was totally surprised."
Melvin also said how the Brewers' small market status means they can't afford to sign a large number of superstars, and anything that takes one of them off the field is an even bigger blow than it would be to a team in New York, L.A. or Chicago.
"A market, organization like ours, we're built around a couple players like that. We don't have five superstars," said Melvin.
"It took 20-some years to get (Prince) Fielder and Braun. Losing Fielder, losing (Zach) Greinke and what's happened with Ryan, it's a major impact on our organization."
When Braun comes back in 2014 - assuming the Brewers don't release or trade him - there are the obvious questions of how he'll relate to his teammates, and how the organization will relate to him. Melvin said Braun has to get back to his leadership and star status after what happened.
"He has to be one of 25 players, the way I look at it. Privileges that were earned prior to this, players have to earn back some of those privileges when they earn something like this," said Melvin.
"When players put a uniform on and they're in that clubhouse, they become family. They know they're going to work together. I go back and think that his actions are what's going to gain back the trust and the confidence in his teammates."
He says he's talked to Braun once since the suspension, and he's there for Braun to reach out to him, but Braun must handle the situation at this point.
"This has to be about Ryan, the things he has to say, do and respond to," said Melvin.
"Ryan is a mature individual. He's not a bad person. Bad people are like the guy in Cleveland who hid the three girls in his house. This is a young individual that made a bad decision."