MLBRT… Christmas Edition… Cuban baseball players, exemptions & trades…


First and formeost… Merry Christmas from us at the Round Table and 7Poundbag… now then… the talk is all about the players… Cuban baseball players, and, drug exemptions and who makes which team better… today we go the four wise men to see what they think about some of the latest happenings in the baseball world…


A word… Earl is on vacation… we’re not sure when he’ll be back, but, we all hope it’s soon… so… for today it’s just the three wise men.  And, since, it’s Christmas, how apropos is that?

1) Orioles “slugger” Chris Davis, was suspended for 25 games in September for testing positive for amphetamines which was actually Adderall, an attention deficient treatment (ADHD) drug. Now, his manager, Buck Showalter, says MLB has granted Davis a Treatment Use Exemption (TUE) to use AdderallChris Davis in 2015.

Strangely, Davis had previously had a TUE prior to his suspension, but, obviously did not have one for 2014. Rumors say it wasn’t because he was denied a TUE for 2014, so, it is assumed it was an oversight on his part in requesting one.

Gaining therapeutic use exemptions from MLB isn’t unique. Reports say, 112 exemptions were issued for ADHD in 2014, with an industry source telling the media that 11 were new applications and 101 were renewals.

Was MLB baseball correct to suspend Davis for violating the MLB drug policy?

Archie1Archie: To the letter of the law, yes. To the extent of purpose, probably not. They made him look like a cheater without explanation at the time to all the fans, while, was the situation was that this player just failed to file for a TUE.

I for one never knew he had been exempt previously, so, to me, it appeared he was a cheater
that got caught. In reality, someone just forgot to follow through on a procedural matter.

E.J. 12Earl: vacation


meJoe: First… I think all these TUEs for Adderall is insane and someone’s is trying to pull the thinly veiled wool over someone else’s eyes. Hell, just make the use of amphetamines legal and be done with it. All those players are attention deficient peeps? Seems to me the percentage of baseball players in MLB with ADHD, or ADD, or whatever, is a lot higher than the general population. Why is that? add-drugs-spikes

Second, if Davis had a legitimate TUE previously, and, because someone… either himself or a hired paper pusher… forgot to reapply, then, common sense has to overcome the letter of the rule. Yeah, I know all about the dictum that “an athlete is responsible for what goes into his body, etc, etc…”, but, this sounds like he thought he had the TUE, and, only because of a paper filing error he didn’t.

So, again, someone needed to apply some common sense in this situation… and… they didn’t.

Steve 01Steve: I am seriously sick and tired of having to listen to this month by month, year by year. I have been on record saying that anyone that is using PED’s has no place on a MLB field. So, I will answer this a couple of different ways.

First, did Davis deserve to be suspended? With the rules that he tested positive for PED’s, then, yes, he absolutely deserved to be suspended.Miguel Tejada's statement

However, I am going to change gears here and say that MLB got this wrong, and, here is why… The executives of MLB simply cannot make up their mind on what is right and what is wrong. They seem to be picking and choosing who they want to suspend, and, who they want to keep on the field. So, until they can make a rule that will be enforced, and regulated, for all who test positive, they cannot in good conscious suspend anyone.

2) This column is not a political one by nature, but, considering the news of renewed diplomatic relations with US & Cuba, it has certain possible ramifications for MLB in the future. Do you think one of those possibilities will be a greater influx of Cuban players coming to the US to play in MLB?
And, if yes, then how do you think will those players coming to America will be regulated?

Archie1Archie: I don’t see where it will make much difference except maybe now people on our side of the border might not get into trouble assisting those guys to come here. I read last week where the Florida based individual that helped “smuggle” Puig into the country was charged and as part of the plea bargain he forfeited all gains from the venture. How did someone here in the States get charged with “smuggling” Puig, yet, Puig was not charged as an accessory?cuban-baseball

There may come a time that what exists as a “Pro” Baseball association in Cuba will start requiring the same posting fee that Japan has. I don’t see much else changing.

E.J. 12Earl:vacation


meJoe: I think eventually there will be a greater influx of Cuban baseball players coming to the MLB from Cuba… which, I think is a good thing.

Cuban Field of Dreams
Cuban Field of Dreams

Now, having said that…

I think the better way to go in processing the players from Cuba to the US, and therefore into MLB, will be to use the Mexican method, whereby a MLB club agrees to pay a player a bonus, and a large percentage (75 percent) of that bonus goes to the Mexican League team… or in Cuba’s case it will be the Cuban government… instead of the posting system that is used in Japan and Korea.


Steve 01Steve: So, I watched a 30 for 30 Dcumentary on El Duque Hernandez and Livan Hernandez, and, how they were scared to death of defecting to the United States from Cuba, not only for themselves, but for their families as well. They went on to have productive MLB careers, and, had a chance to live out their dreams to play Major League Baseball.espn-30-for-30-brothers-in-exile

So, I think this is huge not only for Cuban baseball players, but, for the MLB as well. If, some of these Cuban prospects can come to the United States to play baseball, it is going to bring a whole new competitiveness in the game as we know it today. I for one, am really excited to see what comes of this. Not only from an American’s standpoint, but, from a baseball fan’s standpoint.

3) This Hot Stove season has seen the makeup of some teams in the National League, that up to this point in recent MLB history have been not very successful… the Padres, Marlins and Cubs. Have these teams improved enough to change the competitive nature of their respective divisions, and, the usual suspects for the 2015 NL playoffs?

Archie1Archie: I can see where Marlin’s fans, (all 10,000 of them) should be pretty excited about the ’15 season. Adding Prado, Morse and Gordon to Stanton, Ozuna and Yelich makes for a pretty formidable offensive core to build around. However, unless Miami continues their trade express and gain some starting pitching, they will need everyone of those guys to perform big time because as a team they are going to give up a ton of runs.

The San Diego Padres have probably one of the best hitting outfields in the NL now, but, that is as far as their offensive depth goes.

Upton-Kemp-Myers: Pay off or backfire?
Upton-Kemp-Myers: Pay off or backfire?

J. Gorko led the team last year with 51 RBI’s and Grandal was second with 49. Grandal is now gone as part of the Kemp deal. So, basically, the Padres put all the eggs in the outfield. The Padres were second last season in the NL in team ERA and have basically kept those players intact, (I think). But, they still have to overcome the Giants and Dodgers. I am not convinced they have done enough to do that. WC maybe, division; maybe next year.

The Cubs best acquisition of the off season was without a doubt Joe Madden. That includes the signing of Lester. While, Lester will fill a void on any MLB roster, he can only be run out there every 4th or 5th game. And, the Cubs were close to the bottom in just about every offensive category last season, and, I have not seen enough to improve that. Maybe Madden will have an answer for all the young talent he has to bring them all along. But, they still have to overcome all the talent in the NL Central. They are not there yet.

E.J. 12Earl:vacation


meJoe: If, the Padres get some pitching… they certainly have excess assets that they can now use for trade material… then, I think, they can be a real threat to the so-called established playoff teams.

Marlins and Cubs? I don’t see that they have done enough to make them rock solid playoff contenders. There is still a ways to go until opening day, so, anything can happen… but… as presently constituted I think only the Padres, at this point, can be called a playoff contender.

Steve 01Steve: Still don’t see it with the Marlins. I don’t think they have done enough to compete in their division, as I still think the Nationals are the best team in Baseball.Lester factor

The Cubs are going for it, I think with a dominant starter in Lester, to a successful closer, to a host of talent on the field. With solid leadership managing this core of players, the Cubs WILL contend for the NL Central.

The NL West is a crapshoot. We have debated the topic before that we just don’t know what the Dodgers are doing, and, the Giants have not done too much this offseason to recoup the loss of Sandoval. So, the West could be up for grabs with the Padres being right in the thick of things. I am really looking forward to see what San Diego can do. I picked them last year to compete for a Wild Card berth, and, with the addition of some great players, and, giving Andrew Cashner some much needed offensive help, the Padres may be in the playoff hunt. I may even pick them to win the division….only time will tell.

4) Multiple media sources say that Bud Selig will get the title commissioner emeritus and will be compensated in future years for his service and advice to new commissioner Rob Manfred and the league. Some sources say he will be compensated to the tune of $6 million. MLB is not revealing the number of years Selig will serve in the role. Nor, is it revealing the amount of his compensation but a spokesperson says $6 million is inaccurate. Selig’s appointment is immediate and requires no approval from MLB owners.
What are your thoughts about Selig’s continued involvement (and the rumored compensation) with MLB on this level?

Archie1Archie: Personally I think it SUCKS BIG TIME! Selig had the opportunity as commissioner to right several wrongs during his tenure and he failed miserably. steroidsmlbselig

The whole Steroid issue is still a black mark on his record with repercussions still banging away as we speak. It is quite possible that two of the greatest hitters in my lifetime will still not be in the HOF when I die. I visited Cooperstown once back in ’97 when I was stationed in upstate New York. I WILL NOT ever go back until Pete Rose is included in that venue.

And, for MLB to treat him better than any previous commission and act like he is God like just irks the shit out of me.

E.J. 12Earl:vacation


meJoe: I am probably one of the few peeps out here who actually think Selig was good for baseball. Did he make some serious errors? Yes. For example… he should have, at the very least, done something about PEDs long before he did. But, he also did a lot of good for baseball and rescued the game from being near broke, with some teams probably failing and entering bankruptcy, to a multi-billion dollar business.

So, I don’t see the huge harm in giving him some type of retirement “pension”, and, maybe checking with his opinion once in awhile… but at $6 mil?

SeligPlus… giving some advice is one thing, but, why hire Rob Manfred, if, you don’t think he can do the job? Besides, how is the new commissioner supposed to do his job with the old one hanging around and looking over his shoulder?

If, the object is to pay Selig some type of pension, then, call it what it is, but, don’t make it 6 freaking million dollars and make the role purely a ceremonial one.

Steve 01Steve: I am not going to elaborate too much on this. I will only say this. Bud Selig: You retired, you made the decision to move on, you should be given a pension, but nothing else. Thank you, Selig for your service to Baseball, but, its time to step aside.

5) The Yankees recently made a trade that sent multiple position infielder Martin Prado, and, pitcher David Phelps to the Marlins for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, first baseman Garrett Jones, and, pitching prospect Domingo German.

Who got the best of this deal, or, is it the proverbial “good for both teams” trade?

Archie1Archie: I am not at all sure why German has not made it to the big leagues yet. His numbers after five seasons says he should have been promoted; so, I am not sure of his abilities.

Nathan Eovaldi & Garrett Jones
Nathan Eovaldi & Garrett Jones

I am very familiar with Prado and Jones. Those two were pretty much a wash for both teams. Prado is one of the best utility players in the game and Jones has some good pop to his bat and is most surely going to take advantage of the right field wall in Yankee stadium. I see where Phelps and Eovaldi are both a wash as well with maybe a slight edge going to Eovaldi due to his experience; but, even that was not all good.

So, I guess it comes down to the proverbial “good for both teams” trade.

E.J. 12Earl:vacation


meJoe: I am going to answer this question as I only know how… as an impassioned Yankee fan.  

I understand that the Yankees want to get younger and start spending less on payroll… and… I agree with that strategy. However, Prado’s contract was not that expensive and his value as a multi-positional player… including the outfield and not just the infield… made him much more valuable to the Yankees than it might appear for the immediate future of the team… aka 2015.  

Now, with Prado gone… gone is an experienced 3rd baseman, if Headly’s back starts to act up (ARod will not play more 10 to 20 games in the field)… gone is a rock solid 2nd baseman whose defense was better than adequate and whose offense as a 2nd baseman was above the league average. Plus, now the Yanks will need to depend on 2nd being anchored by one of two inexperienced rookies unless they make a deal for another 2nd baseman. And, gone is insurance for Beltran in right, or, Teixeira at 1st, if, either of their past physical problems arise in 2105.   Garrett as the backup at 1st is “meh”.

Bottom line: Prado was the perfect choice as the Yanks 2nd baseman, and, if, Prado was needed elsewhere besides 2nd … that’s what the rookies down in the minors are for… an inurance policy for the 2nd  base positon.  

Martin Prado & David Phelps
Martin Prado & David Phelps

Losing Phelps is not that big of a deal to me. As far as he was concerned, he was so-so, with little upside than he has already shown.

Eovaldi is young with a lot of upside, IF, he can make some adjustment to how he attacks major league hitters, but, so far he is a below .500 pitcher. Can he be like Nolan Ryan and begin to blossom as a dominant pitcher with an exceptional heater with a change of scenery? Maybe. 

And, word is that German is an ace waiting to happen, but, when all is said and done, potential is just that… potential.  

Now… if, I try to calm down and let the fan in me fade into the background, and, look at this as a “smart long term talent gamble”… I guess the Yanks got the “better” of the long term deal, but, not necessarily for short term… or 2105. Unless, Eovaldi really can turn his record around and prove to be at least a decent # 3 in the NY rotation.

I’ll, reluctantly, give the trade a “good deal for both teams” grade… for the time being.

Domingo Germán
Domingo Germán

Steve 01Steve:  I like Prado. I liked him when he was a member of the Braves. However, he may be past his prime.

Phelps is a good pitcher, but…

I think this comes down to German. I have this feeling that German is going to be a huge star in this game. So, in my opinion, the Yankees got the better of this trade simply due in part that Domingo German was a part of this trade and he went to the Yankees.


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