Ken Rosenthal passes on a bright idea from Scott Boras: a minor league posting system:
Each team would protect a set number of players: 40, the current number, or maybe even 45. Every other player in a club’s farm system would be available through a blind posting process similar to the arrangement baseball maintains with Japanese clubs.
In Boras’ vision: A prospect-rich team such as the Royals could sell off unprotected young players in return for money they could redirect toward free major-league agents. A club deep in young pitchers, but not position players, could use the process to create more balance, selling one type of player and buying another. If a team preferred to keep a player another club wanted, it would match the posting price and send the money back the other way.
I agree with Rosenthal’s assessment: interesting, but there just isn’t the kind of talent off of 40-man rosters to justify creating that kind of system. I mean, sure, ideally each team is totally aware of all of the talent available or potentially available, but if you get into posting all of the minor leaguers, teams will have to put a hell of a lot more money and effort into tracking these guys. I just don’t see how the reward will outweigh the necessary cash outlay.
Also, given what we’ve seen from some teams in terms of hording cash and going low-money on amateur signings, I don’t think we want to create any system under which a team can sell off young talent like this. What are the odds that the money gained on posting fees would be plowed into free agency? Pretty low in some cities, I imagine.
Fun, but no thanks.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉