As expected, Fernando Martinez didn’t make it very far on the waiver wire after being dropped from the 40-man roster by the Mets earlier this week. One spot, in fact.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the 23-year-old former top prospect was snatched up by the Astros, who have the No. 1 waiver priority by virtue of their MLB-worst 56-106 record last season.
Martinez’s stock has plummeted during the past couple years because of chronic knee problems and mediocre production in the minors, but he’s certainly still worth taking a flier on for a rebuilding, talent-starved team like the Astros.
Mets fans are no doubt frustrated to lose Martinez for nothing after years of seeing him rumored to be the centerpiece of various blockbuster trade possibilities, but at this point his value is pretty marginal and general manager Sandy Alderson surely tried to get something in return for him via trade before placing him on waivers.
Blame injuries and the previous regime’s maddening tendency to rush top prospects through the minors. Or the fact that even the best prospects fail to pan out half the time, especially when the hype machine starts as a teenager.
Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”
As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”
It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.