Mookie Wilson — possible Mets first base coach — provides me with an excuse to mock my own child

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Andy Martino of the Daily News does his best to comfort sad Wally Backman fans by passing along word that the team may be considering another 1986 Met for the coaching staff: Mookie Wilson, who could become the team’s first base coach.

First base coaches don’t really matter, but I link this for three reasons: (1) I LOVE Mookie Wilson; (2) it’s a slow news day; and (3) it gives me an opportunity to tell you how I annoyed my daughter over the weekend.

For the past three years I have contributed an article to The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.  It just came out and you should buy it, by the way. No, I don’t get any money if it becomes a best seller. It’s just the best baseball annual you’re going to find, my article — recapping the year’s more frivolous stories — is pretty hilarious if I say so myself, and The Hardball Times is an awesome organization consisting of awesome people and you should support them.  With the shilling over, here’s how I annoyed my daughter:

In the back of the book, all of the Hardball Times contributors have a little author bio.  For the past two years I’ve ended my bio by saying  “Craig lives with his wife and two children — Mookie and Tyrus Raymond — in a fortified compound on the outskirts of New Albany, Ohio.”  Last year I told my daughter that I called her Mookie and she was livid, insisting that her name is not, in fact, Mookie.  I did it again this year, of course, and I got my copy of the book on Saturday.  I quickly turned to the bio page and put it in front of my daughter to show her that, once again, she is Mookie.  She totally freaked out on me.  It was fabulous. And hey, if you can’t mock your kids, who can you mock?

I woke up on Sunday morning with this picture shoved under my bedroom door:

Yes, that is my daughter shooting me with a ray-gun of some sort as her little brother — Tyrus Raymond — looks on laughing and as I scream in pain and horror.  And hey, she got my little basement studio in there and everything!  That kid has a bright future ahead of her assuming she doesn’t murder her father and stuff.

But next year: she’s totally Mookie again.  Or maybe Honus.

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.