Scott Boras went on MLB Network Radio on SIRIUS XM this afternoon and spoke with hosts Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy about the Edward Salcedo loan story, which we’ve been following since yesterday. Boras had three main points he wanted to make:
- While everyone’s ears prick up when they hear about agents loaning money to kids, that is a function of U.S. audiences hearing about it in the context of the NCAA and amateurism rules and finding it distasteful and wrong. It is wrong in the latter context, Boras, agrees, but not the former. He believes that the New York Times story was written because it hits on the latter, hot button issues. Oh, and because people are very eager to “finally get to attack someone we want to.” Meaning himself, of course;
- Salcedo was poor and in need, and that if it weren’t for the loans — and he stressed that it was a “loans,” over time, not one check for $70,000 — Salcedo would have had to abandon his baseball career due to financial need; and
- No MLBPA rules were violated in making the loans.
I still think that the agenda involved as a lot to do with Major League Baseball’s designs on restraining the market in the Dominican, but I’ll concede that Boras’ answer is more satisfying on an Occam’s Razor level. The Times does likely have an interest in getting in on the “agents loaning young players money” story even if, in this case, there is nothing wrong with it. People do like to take swings at Boras if they get a chance. Of course, the paper isn’t doing this on its own. It quoted some Major League Baseball sources pretty prominently in yesterday’s piece, so my theory could be working right alongside Boras’.
I have yet to see a statement from the MLBPA blessing the loans, so there may still be an issue here with respect to technical compliance. But at the same time, I have yet to see anything that suggests that this is a dire problem like it was portrayed to be in yesterday’s New York Times story.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.