What we're watching – June 9

Leave a comment

– The MLB draft, of course. Aaron will have the occasional blog during
the first round, while I’ll be writing up every first-round pick over
at Rotoworld.

– The pitching matchup of the night looks like Chris Carpenter vs. Josh
Johnson, and since neither the Cardinals nor the Marlins have their
offense clicking, it could be a quick one. Carpenter allowed just three
earned runs and 19 hits in 38 innings through six starts. Johnson has
given up more than three runs just once in 12 starts. The Cards need
Carpenter to play the role of stopper after losing four straight to the
Rockies in which they were outscored 33-9.

– Johan Santana, who has given up 12 earned runs in his last four
starts to take his ERA from 0.78 to 2.00, gets the Phillies for the
second time this season. He pitched two-hit ball and fanned 10 in seven
innings against them on May 6, but that was his last truly outstanding
outing. The Phillies will go to J.A. Happ, who is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA
in three starts since joining the rotation.

Game of the Night

N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston – The Yanks are 0-5 against the Red Sox this
season, yet they hold a one-game lead in the AL East anyway. This will
be the second matchup between A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett. In the
first, both pitchers gave up eight runs in five innings and the Red Sox
ended up winning 16-11. Beckett later beat the Yanks by allowing three
runs over six innings on May 5. That was the first of a string of six
straight quality starts that he’s maintained into tonight’s game. He’s
allowed five runs — one earned — over 22 2/3 innings in his last
three outings. Burnett has never taken a loss to the Red Sox, going 5-0
with a 3.52 ERA in nine starts.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Getty Images

On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.

We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.

Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:

Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.

Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.

Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.

“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.

Four. More. Years.