More unwritten rule silliness, as White Sox take offense to Marlins running up 7-0

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Alex Rodriguez running across Dallas Braden’s mound in Oakland got people talking about baseball’s so-called unwritten rules and they were on display again yesterday when the White Sox freaked out after the Marlins twice stole a base up 7-0 in the fourth inning. White Sox starter Freddy Garcia was responsible for allowing the seven runs before being chased from the game in the third inning, and had this to say afterward:

It’s 7-0, it’s not a good thing to steal a base. That’s no respect for the other team. Whatever happens happens, but it’s not showing respect. It’s 7-0 when you steal second and third. I think it’s bad baseball.

And here’s what manager Ozzie Guillen said:

I don’t know what happened there, but this is baseball. You have to respect [the other team]. I was up eight a couple of days ago. That’s the way we learn to play the game. We had to do something about it, and we did. We had to tell the guys not to play like that.

What the White Sox “did” was plunk one of the players who stole a base, Brett Carroll.
Here’s the thing, though: MLB teams come back from seven-run deficits in the early innings all the time, either to make it a one- or two-run game by the later innings or to actually pull off a comeback win. For the White Sox to say the Marlins should just close up shop in the fourth inning because they’re ahead 7-0 is absurd, particularly since it’s not as if the White Sox will stop doing everything they can to close the gap.
Plus, this isn’t little league or high school or even college. This is professional baseball, at the very highest level, played and managed by grown men making millions of dollars. If you want the other team to stop scoring, then pitch and defend better. Do you think Guillen would apologize to the Marlins if they ceased trying to tack on more runs and the White Sox ended up coming back to win the game? Of course not.
Paul Konerko thankfully stepped up as the voice of reason in the White Sox’s clubhouse afterward:

I don’t know. Everybody has a different opinion. We were still holding the guy on base. Usually unless you have a double-digit lead you [can] steal a base. [Carroll] was afraid not to go because he thought he missed a steal sign. That’s what he told me. But as far as the unwritten rule, if you ask five different guys you are going to get five different answers.

Exactly. The day seven-run leads in the fourth inning mean an automatic victory is the day an unwritten rule against teams trying to score more runs should be followed.

Report: Qualifying offer to be in the $18 million range

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According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, teams have been told that the qualifying offer to free agents this offseason will be in the $18 million range, likely $18.1 million. The value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 player salaries.

At $18.1 million, that would be $900,000 more than the previous QO, which was $17.2 million. This will impact soon-to-be free agents like Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Yu Darvish, among others. That also assumes that the aforementioned players aren’t traded, which would make them ineligible to receive qualifying offers. We’ve seen, increasingly, that teams aren’t willing to make a QO to an impending free agent and that trend is likely to continue this offseason.

The QO system was modified by the newest collective bargaining agreement. The compensatory pick for a team losing a player who declined a QO used to be a first-round pick. That was a penalty to both teams and players, which is why it was changed. Via MLB’s website pertaining to the QO:

A team that exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well $1 million from its international bonus pool. If such a team signs multiple qualifying offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest remaining picks as well.

A team that receives revenue sharing will lose its third-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its fourth-highest remaining pick.

A team that neither exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season nor receives revenue sharing will lose its second-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest remaining pick.

Additionally, if a player who rejected a QO signs a guaranteed contract worth at least $50 million and came from a team that receives revenue sharing, that previous team will receive a compensatory pick immediately following the first round in the ensuing draft. If the contract is less than $50 million, that team will get a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B. If the player’s team is over the luxury tax threshold, that team will receive a compensation pick following the fourth round. If that team neither exceeded the luxury tax nor receives revenue sharing, the compensation pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B.

Yeah, it’s a bit convoluted, but you do the best you can with a flawed system.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.