MLB News & Views @ MLBRT 11/30

This week’s questions and discussion…

1) Last Tuesday (11/21), MLB commissioner Rob Manfred issued a statement that punished the Atlanta Braves and some of their former executives flaunting international signing rules and for “bundling” signing bonuses for those international players. Bundling means they paid two players $300,000 bonuses, though most of the money went to one player. The other player received a larger-than-expected bonus relative to his talent. That allowed the Braves to sign players who’d otherwise not consider signing with them for just $300,000. 

Former Braves GM John Coppolella placed on MLB’s restricted list

John Coppolella, who resigned as the Braves GM in October after MLB opened their investigation of the Braves got a lifetime ban from baseball for his role in the “violations of Major League Rules.” Former Braves special assistant Gordon Blakeley was also suspended for a year and Manfred said other discipline will be forthcoming regarding “other Braves’ International Baseball Operations employees who participated in the misconduct after the completion of our internal procedures.”

In addition, the Braves will lose 12 international signees who will all be released from their contracts, “declaring them free agents eligible to sign with any other Club.” And for the next two international signing periods, the team cannot sign any international player for more than $10,000 during 2019-20, while also having their 2020-21 signing bonus pool money cut in half.


Is MLB/Commissioner Rob Manfred overacting in this situation or is he right in sending out a clear and strong message regarding the rules for international signings?

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred

Dan: I think the punishments are a little big for the future signing of the team as he’s basically made it impossible for Atlanta to grab a player internationally for the 2019-2020 season and very hard for the season after that. But, I think overall he did right in sending a message that you can’t exploit the rules in the way that they did.

Joe: While I do think the penalties were on the very severe side… maybe a tad too much severe… I think overall Manfred did what he had to do to send a message.

That circumventing the rules is not allowed and there will be consequences.

Steve: I’m a Braves fan, and I am disappointed with this but Not for the punishment because I think he made the right call.

Manfred has proved to be a very fair commissioner and so far has made the right decisions. So, I have no reason to doubt this penalty. They were made an example about what will happen if you break these rules. I just hope that if it happens again that everyone will be held to the same punishment, even if it is the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, or any other high market team.

2) Let’s just ask the question… Is Derek Jeter in over his head as the face of the Miami Marlins and the “owner” (he invested $25 million for 4% of the team, while controlling owner Bruce Sherman has $400 million of his own money invested) who will make most of the decisions for the team’s immediate future?

Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman at Miami Marlins introductory news conference

Dan: No, at this point in time I don’t think so. He’ll definitely have a tough road ahead, but he doesn’t have to make all the decisions regarding player personnel, etc… like a general manager or front office has to do.

Let his GM handle all the day-to-day work. I think Jeter made the right move in getting into ownership instead of a front office or a dugout. 

Joe: I’m not sure.

From what I have seen I think it looks like Jeter is not real good on doing things in a very diplomatic manner. Take for instance how he is handling the Stanton issue. He took forever to even contact the man and when he finally does seem to contact him the scuttlebutt is he (or someone he sent to do the dirty work) tells Stanton if he doesn’t accept a trade then they will trade off multiple other players on the teamwith trade value  to reduce payroll. Like I said, if true, not very diplomatic.

In my opinion, he needs to change that method of dealing with people if he wants to last in the game. Time will tell, but so far I figure he still has a lot to learn about being an owner.

Steve: I don’t think he is in over his head so to say, but I don’t think he really knew the amount of work this was going to be. I think with his baseball knowledge, Jeter is going to be that owner that can talk to his players, and be able to make important baseball related decisions, but let Sherman make most of the financial decisions.

This actually could work having a guy who knows the game so well like Jeter as a minority owner along side a guy who knows business.

3) As the updated Hall of Fame ballot was issued to the public, Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan, in his position as vice chairman of the Hall, Morgan, sent out a letter to the more than 430 BBWAA members who will vote in this year’s election, urging them to invoke that integrity clause by not sending cheaters (steroid users) to Cooperstown.

MLBRT has dealt with this issue of steroid users being enshrined before, but in light of Morgan’s statement against steroid users that he made in his official capacity as vice chairman of the Hall, what is your opinion of his declaration?

Joe Morgan

Dan: I think Joe Morgan should just stay in his place and not send out personal opinions to voters in an attempt to persuade any voters opinions on voting for or against certain players.

I’m definitely 100% against his letter.

Joe: He is entitled to his opinion, but I’m not sure he should have done what he did IF he did it in his official capacity as the vice chairman of the Hall of Fame, which it appears is what he did.

He should have simply sent a personal  message to the voters, on is own personal unofficial stationery, saying in his personal opinion they should think seriously about invoking the integrity clause when voting for anyone with steroid history. And left it at that.

Steve: It is his right to do so, but I don’t agree with it.

My only thing is this… How do we know that there are not already “cheaters” in the Hall of Fame? There was no testing back in the day, sure the medical technology was nothing like it is today, but still we don’t know if a guy like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, just to name a few, had ever taken an illegal substance. I’m not in any way saying they did, all I’m saying is we don’t know. And, had they been playing in this era, then we may be having the same discussion on them.

Bonds, and Clemens both deserve to be there, even before the whole PED scandal.

4) So far this off-season, the Hot Stove League has been ripe with rumors but little to almost no activity compared to previous years.

Why do you think teams are being slow to move this year?

Dan: I don’t think there’s any real reason other than just being cautious and waiting for the market to really open up.

I don’t think we’ll start to see a lot of heavy movement until the Winter Meetings when the off-season will begin to kick into high gear. I actually expect it to get even quieter until the Winter Meetings.

Joe: I’m really not sure why this is.

If I had to guess, I would say that it is part this year’s free agent class ain’t exactly that great and it’s part everybody is playing it cagey and waiting for the first shoe to drop before making any moves.

Plus there is the entire issue of The Babe Ruth of Japan, Shohei Ohtani, I think teams are also waiting to see what shakes out here before making any other serious moves.

For instance using my favorite team as an example, the Yankees. They need at least another starter in their rotation. They might not go for Darvish because he is probably going to be overpriced and Hal Steinbrenner looks serious in getting the team under the soft cap threshold BUT they might go after a second tier pitcher either in free agency or by a trade who might not break the bank. If, they sign Babe Ohtani instead they will preclude themselves from delving into free agency or making any trades. That changes the entire market for a lot of teams.

AND… where does Stanton finally accept a trade? Or does he? There are no less than five teams named so far interested in the reigning MLB HR king as well as the NL MVP… Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers, Phillies and Cardinals. With other teams rumored to be doing their due diligence and checking in to see what the Marlins might accept to dump Stanton and his salary, like maybe the Cubs, Nationals, Rangers and Yankees.  Thats another circumstance I think teams are waiting on to see what happens before they start looking elsewhere.

Steve: Honestly, I think teams are trying to feel one another out. They want to see who will blink first to see what kind of contracts we are looking at.

Plus, this free agent class is not the most stellar of all the years, but next season is going to be insane. So the hold out could be waiting for next year.

5) Speaking of the Hall of Fame Ballot here is the full ballot, including last year’s vote percentage for those who aren’t first timers…

Trevor Hoffman 3rd 74.0
Vladimir Guerrero 2nd 71.7
Edgar Martinez 9th 58.6
Roger Clemens 6th 54.1
Barry Bonds 6th 53.8
Mike Mussina 5th 51.8
Curt Schilling 6th 45.0
Manny Ramirez 2nd 23.8
Larry Walker 8th 21.9
Fred McGriff 9th 21.7
Jeff Kent 5th 16.7
Gary Sheffield 4th 13.3
Billy Wagner 3rd 10.2
Sammy Sosa 6th 8.6
Chipper Jones 1st
Jim Thome 1st
Scott Rolen 1st
Omar Vizquel 1st
Johan Santana 1st
Andruw Jones 1st
Johnny Damon 1st
Jamie Moyer 1st
Chris Carpenter 1st
Kerry Wood 1st
Carlos Zambrano 1st
Livan Hernandez 1st
Orlando Hudson 1st
Aubrey Huff 1st
Jason Isringhausen 1st
Carlos Lee 1st
Brad Lidge 1st
Hideki Matsui 1st
Kevin Millwood 1st

You know the rules… who are your picks for the Hall?

Is this the year for Bonds and Clemens?

Dan:  I’ll just name my selections…

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Vladimir Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Johan Santana and Scott Rolen

Reach me on Twitter @Dyhard if you would like to discuss more regarding my selections!

Joe: I’m on the fence about the PED users. But I will use this criteria… If I believe he would have gotten in regardless of his steroid use, then yeah, I voting for him. Except for Clemens… in my opinion, the guy was just a dick and I refuse to vote for him.

Having said that… Barry Bonds, Mike Mussina, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Fred McGriff, Edgar Martinez and Gary Sheffield.

Sorry, Manny but those two suspensions work against you. Not this year any way. Thome gets in, just not this year. 

Steve: So, I’m guessing we pick up to 10. Here we go. … Chipper Jones, Chris Carpenter, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Fred McGriff

Jones is a lock, I like Carpenter and Thome to get in at some point in their career. It’s Hoffman’s time as I feel it is long overdue. Vlad should get in too on this ballot as he was one of the best in baseball for so many years.  Bonds and Clemens I have always felt deserve to be there despite the PED allegations. Martinez is a wild card as he was a DH but you cannot overlook his lifetime batting average. Schilling needs to get in, as he has so many accolades it is ridiculous he is not in. And McGriff? Okay I’m a homer, I just like the guy.

Dave Righetti 1981 ROY… In 15 games, he went 8-4 with a 2.05 ERA and allowed 6.4 hits and 0.1 home runs per nine innings while striking out 7.6 batters per nine innings pitched

Extra Innings…

On November 30th in Baseball history…

  • 1948 – Player-manager Lou Boudreau is selected the American League Most Valuable Player. Boudreau had almost been traded to the St. Louis Browns earlier in the year, but protests by fans kept Lou in Cleveland.
  • 1952 – On a local TV program, Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson charges that the New York Yankees management is racist for its failure to bring up a black player. George Weiss of the Yanks denies the allegations.
  • 1961 – Billy Williams of the Cubs is voted National League Rookie of the Year.
  • 1981 – Yankees southpaw Dave Righetti (8-4, 2.06 in 1981) wins the American League Rookie of the Year Award.



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