When you’re 38 years-old, you get released at the end of March and your phone barely rings between then and the middle of May, well, you’re probably not too far away from retirement. That’s the boat Casey Blake found himself in this spring, so he’s calling it a career:
Major League Baseball veteran Casey Blake said today that he officially has decided to retire, despite starting spring training with the Colorado Rockies and fielding recent interest from the Texas Rangers.
Blake told the Des Moines Register that he has been leaning toward retiring, but stopped short of a decision until now.
“My wife (Abbie) has been telling people I’m retired, but I’ve kind of been giving her a look,” said Blake, 38, who has played parts of 13 seasons in the majors with five teams before attempting to make the roster this season with Colorado.
“But I think I knew in my heart that I am (retiring), but I just haven’t announced it.”
The women always know first.
Blake didn’t have a regular gig in the majors until he was 29, but he made the most of a late start, spending eight years, more or less, as a starting third baseman with a little time in the outfield. For his career he hit .264/.336/.442, which was good for an OPS+ of 107.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.
I don’t know why Bill Murray is in Washington today. I don’t know why he’s at the White House. But I do know that he was there in Chicago Cubs gear, standing at the lectern in the press briefing room, voicing his full confidence in the Cubs prevailing in the NLCS, despite the fact that Clayton Kershaw is going for the Dodgers tomorrow night.
“Too many sticks,” president Murray said of the Cubs lineup. And something about better trees in Illinois.
Four. More. Years.