Bobby Jenks thinks he was disrespected by the White Sox

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MLB.com’s Scott Merkin caught up with Bobby Jenks, and it seems that the White Sox’ former closer isn’t entirely pleased with his departure from the Windy City:

Confusion began after free-agent slugger Adam Dunn and the White Sox agreed upon a four-year, $56 million deal. Dunn had worn jersey No. 44 in the past, but that number belongs to starting pitcher Jake Peavy. According to Jenks, the White Sox informed his group how Dunn instead would be wearing No. 45 — Jenks’ number. That decision, Jenks claims, pretty much spoke volumes about the White Sox desire to keep him.

“Once they signed Adam Dunn and gave him my number, I knew it was official,” Jenks said. “With that move right there, even though they talked to me after [Paul] Konerko and Dunn signed, it was almost like an afterthought, I felt. They never made it seem like they wanted to bring me back.”

On one level I sympathize — telling someone you gave away their number isn’t the best form on the planet — but really, Jenks didn’t expect to come back, did he? The White Sox had been fairly hostile to him as far as these things go for over a year. They got on him about his weight. They jerked him in and out of the closer’s role.  He was making $7.5 million and would have commanded a raise if he came back, so the writing was on the wall, was it not? Manners still matter, of course, but it’s not like Jenks had a reasonable expectation of wearing 45 in Chicago next year. And as it happened, Dunn chose a different number anyway.  For their part, the White Sox say Jenks misunderstood the whole matter.

More interesting than the number flap, though, was that one team was interested in Jenks as a starter:

Other teams besides Boston had interest. Jenks listed those opportunities from closing for Tampa Bay to starting — yes, starting — for the Texas Rangers. Jenks was a starter for five Minor League seasons with the Angels before being converted to the bullpen when joining the White Sox.

“Starting has always been in the back of my mind,” said Jenks, who added how he tossed around the idea with White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper during his final month of 2010 inactivity due to ulnar neuritis.

Can’t say I could see that happening. Maybe Texas, a year after their success with the C.J. Wilson experiment, thinks they can turn anyone into a starter?  If so, prove it:  Kyle Farnsworth is available.

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.