So apparently I'm a jackass

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Carton.jpgSo yesterday Craig Carton and Boomer Esiason of 660 WFAN went crazy on me for calling Yankees fans “classless and ignorant” for booing Javy Vazquez on Wednesday. The audio of that is here, beginning at around the nine minute mark.  It starts with Carton calling me a “jackass” and it goes downhill from there.  Good times!

Always a fan of great theater, I decided to call in to the show this morning.  I had no illusions that Carton would change his mind on the matter, and he most certainly did not. But rather than defend the booing on the merits — which I don’t think even he can — he decided to unload on me for being a blogger, not having a journalism background and all of that. Anyone who follows the media very much knows that’s the last refuge of someone with no argument, but there he went anyway. When I told him that Mike Lupica has a journalism background and he sucks he pulled a Francessa on me and hung up. Great theater — and basically what I expected — but telling all the same.

Carton’s main point from yesterday — that it’s the God-given right of Yankees fans to boo whoever they want to — is absolutely correct. But he has no answer for the notion that you look totally bush league when you boo a guy over six year-old failures six months after winning the World Series.  There are all sorts of things you can do if you want to. But just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

All that said, I would like to thank Carton and Boomer for having me on. The easy thing to do would be to ignore me. There are things that are more fun in the world than being hammered by talk radio guys, but (a) it was actually kind of fun on some level; and (b) the worst day of being hammered by talk radio guys about baseball stuff beats the best day in a law office defending the indefensible.

UPDATEHere’s my segment on WFAN from this morning.  I’ll leave it to you to decide who comes off better. 

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.