Is Matt Holliday long for St. Louis?

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You know the story by now: a veteran comes to St. Louis, loves it there, wins some games, falls for all of that “best fans in baseball business” and decides to make it a home.  Jim Edmonds is the best example of it.  Come to think of it, he might be the only significant example.  Still, that meme seems to hold true for some reason, at least in the minds of Cardinal fans.

A lot of people figured that Matt Holliday might fit that profile too.  Financially speaking he probably screwed up in not taking the Rockies’ last contract offer, and he was more or less lost in Oakland the first part of this year, making him a less attractive free agent in the minds of many.  Plus he has Scott Boras for an agent, making things even more prickly.  Given his post-trade surge, he seems like a great candidate to say “hey, this is a great situation!  I have Albert Pujols hitting in front of me, fans who love me, and a lot of weak NL Central pitching to feast on.  I’m staying!”

Not so fast says ESPN’s Buster Olney (sorry; link is to Insider material).  Olney takes a look at the Cardinals’ business plan over the past few years and makes a pretty good case that Holliday will not be seriously pursued by the club.  St. Louis doesn’t seem to want a $100M+ payroll if they can help it, they’re going to sign DeRosa, and Pujols, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are going to get more expensive over the course of any hypothetical Matt Holliday deal.

Olney thinks that leaves Holliday the odd man out.  In fact, he thinks Holliday will sign with the Angels.  I’m inclined to agree with the “Holliday won’t come back” part, but you have to figure that Anaheim wasn’t all that impressed by what they saw of him while he played for the A’s.  Plus, you have to figure that Holliday will want to stay in NL given his little jaunt around the junior circuit this summer.

As for the Cardinals, if they don’t bring him back, I presume that they’ll keep up the same old model: see if they can win with Albert, some pitching and a prayer.  If that’s not working by July, they’ll rent a bat for the second half, and hope that the Cubs don’t figure things out in the meantime.

Not a bad plan, really.  Especially the part that depends on the Cubs to self-destruct at one point or another. 

Lloyd McClendon will return as Tigers’ hitting coach in 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 05:  Manager Lloyd McClendon #21 of the Seattle Mariners looks on from the dugout against the Oakland Athletics in the top of the six inning at Coliseum on July 5, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.

McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.

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)
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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.