And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights

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I had every recap done this morning, hit “save” and then just as that happened something barfed on itself in Google Chrome and I lost it all. So if these recaps seem superficial, it’s only because I’m trying to type them with one fist punched in the monitor.

Tigers 2, Rays 1: A wilder one than the score suggests, with Ramon Santiago plating the winning run with an RBI triple in the tenth. A key play: Magglio Ordonez nailing Justin Ruggiano at the plate to complete a double play with the bases loaded. Watch for yourself. No great angles on that clip, but he looked safe to me on the second view following the Maddon argument.

Indians 1, Yankees 0: Four Indians pitchers — led by Carlos Carrasco — combine to toss a five-hit shutout. Well, seeing as though Carrasco gave up all five hits, I guess it wasn’t totally equitable. The bigger deal than the Yankees failure to generate any offense was Derek Jeter’s early exit due to a sore calf.

Pirates 3, Mets 1: Paul Maholm pitched seven shutout innings — and Mike Pelfrey was nearly as good — but Maholm had at least a bit of support. The Mets and Pirates split the series. Both of these teams are seeking .500 baseball like it’s the Holy Grail, and each time they get close it slips through their fingers. So totally expect a Pirates loss tonight.

Reds 6, Dodgers 4: Bronson Arroyo and Hiroki Kuroda met a couple of weeks ago and had a pitcher’s duel. They met last night and had … something else. Still, since Arroyo drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh, I’d say it’s safe to say that he won the pitchers-helping-their-own-cause duel.

Padres 3, Rockies 1: Anthony Bass wins his major league debut after throwing 5.1 strong innings in Coors Field of all places. Then he’s promptly demoted. Life’s hard out there for a spot starter.

Astros 8, Braves 3: Four RBI for Hunter Pence, who extended his hitting streak to 23 games.  Derek Lowe follows up his near no-hitter by laying this moderate-sized egg. Which is quite a Derek Lowe thing to do.

Cubs 1, Brewers 0: Randy Wolf and Ryan Dempster put up a bunch of zeroes but the Cubs break through with the game’s only run on a fielder’s choice in the eighth. How very 2011 of them.

Diamondbacks 12, Marlins 9: Teams combine for 30 hits and 21 runs. How very 2001 of them.

Angels 6, Mariners 3: Vernon Wells with two homers. He credited his game to watching hours of video earlier in the day. I bet he was watching old “Monty Python” episodes. Those always put me in a good mood too.

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.