As expected, Norichika Aoki traveled to Arizona over the weekend to have an in-person workout with the Brewers after they bid $2.5 million for the Japanese outfielder’s exclusive negotiating rights.
Nikkon Sports, via Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker, reports that the workout lasted 75 minutes and “included catch, long toss, batting practice and base running.”
Eight different Brewers representatives were in attendance, including general manager Doug Melvin and manager Ron Roenicke.
The two sides have until January 17 to agree to terms on a contract and the Brewers will be refunded the posting fee if a deal isn’t struck. Typically the posting fee and contract are similar in terms of total value, so if the Brewers liked what they saw from Aoki he could be in line for $2-3 million along with the $2.5 million that would go to his old team in Japan.
The Rockies announced a minor swap of relief pitchers on Monday evening. The Cubs sent lefty Zac Rosscup to the Rockies in exchange for right-hander Matt Carasiti.
Rosscup, 29, was designated for assignment by the Cubs last Thursday. He spent only two-thirds of an inning in the majors this year and has a 5.32 career ERA across 47 1/3 innings. Rosscup has spent most of the season with Triple-A Iowa, posting a 2.60 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.
Carasiti, 25, spent 15 2/3 innings in the majors last year, putting up an ugly 9.19 ERA. With Triple-A Albuquerque this season, he compiled a 2.37 ERA and a 43/13 K/BB ratio in 30 1/3 innings.
The Associated Press reported that on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed a district court ruling which holds that the minor leagues are exempt from federal antitrust law, just like the major leagues.
In 2015, four minor leaguers sued Major League Baseball, alleging that MLB violated antitrust laws with its hiring and employment policies. They accused MLB of “restrain[ing] horizontal competition between and among” franchises and “artificially and illegally depressing” the salaries of minor league players.
The U.S. Court of Appeals said the players failed to state an antitrust claim, as the Curt Flood Act of 1998 exempted Minor League Baseball explicitly from antitrust laws.
This case is separate from the Aaron Senne case in which Major League Baseball is accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. That case was recertified as a class action lawsuit in March. In December, Major League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC), which came months after two members of Congress sought to change language in the FLSA so that minor league players could continue to be paid substandard wages.