Guillen: Asian players treated much better than Latinos

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Most of Ozzie Guillen’s rants can be ignored.  They’re usually plenty insightful, but he spouts off so often that it almost becomes repetitive.  And then he’ll surprise you, and really say something that makes you think.  That’s what he did Sunday while talking to reporters before Chicago’s series finale with the Oakland A’s at U.S. Cellular Field.

Guillen noted that Asian players are assigned translators by the clubs that sign them and Spanish-speaking Latino players are not.  Guillen also noted that few young Latino players are educated about the effects and consequences of performance-enhancing drugs and that those same players are cast aside if they don’t sign with major league clubs before the age of 16 or 17.  All the while American college kids can hold off until 22 or 23 to develop their skills and build a resume that includes experiences beyond the game of baseball.  Like college degrees.  You know, backup plans.

“Very bad. I say, why do we have Japanese interpreters and we don’t have a
Spanish one. I always say that. Why do they have that privilege and we
don’t?” Guillen said Sunday.
“Don’t take this wrong, but they take advantage of us. We bring a
Japanese player and they are very good and they bring all these
privileges to them. We bring a Dominican kid … go to the minor
leagues, good luck. Good luck. And it’s always going to be like that.
It’s never going to change. But that’s the way it is.”

Everything Guillen said is correct, and while it’s not a fun topic to think or talk about, young prospects from the Dominican and other Latin countries are often treated like cattle — ridden hard and fed well until there’s an inkling of regression.  Then it’s time for the slaughter house.  Or zoo exhibits — dressed up in the club’s garb and paraded through the farm system until there’s a slight fading of skill.

Sure, the Latino players that do it the right way or have infallible talent will reach the end of the rainbow in the form of multi-million dollar contracts.  But if Guillen’s comments at least raise awareness for the treatment of lesser Latino prospects, then mission accomplished.

Report: Pirates sign Felipe Rivero to four-year contract extension

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.

Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.

Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.

Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”