Jose Mijares

Maybe he has really terrible b.o.


That’s one of my working theories for the odd case of Jose Mijares.

Now, Mijares was pretty bad last year, finishing with a 4.59 ERA and a 30/30 K/BB ratio in 49 innings for the Twins. Still, between 2009-10, he had a 2.67 ERA and an 83/32 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. The Twins probably could have kept him for $700,000-$1 million as a first-time arbitration eligible player, but they non-tendered him and the Royals signed him as a free agent for $925,000.

And, in his limited role as a lefty specialist, Mijares was pretty great as a Royal. He had a 2.56 ERA and a 37/13 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings for the season. He was charged with just one blown save versus 11 holds. Lefties were hitting .214 with just one homer and five walks in 84 at-bats against him.

Still, when Mijares was placed on waivers last week, no American League team bothered putting in a claim. He also made it through 10 National League teams before the Giants were awarded the claim.

And then the truly shocking event; the Royals simply let him go, getting only the waiver price return. It’s going to save them about $175,000 (Mijares had about $325,000 left on his contract; the minimum-salaried player replacing him on the roster will make about $175,000 the rest of the way). That’s nothing for a major league team.

Also, it’s not like they merely lost Mijares for the rest of this year; he was under team control through 2014. He’ll probably be due $1.25 million-$1.5 million in arbitration next year.

So, there’s one obvious answer here; Mijares was a real problem in the clubhouse. That was part of why the Royals dropped Yuniesky Betancourt on Sunday, and Mijares has long been viewed as something of a headcase. The Royals obviously didn’t think he’d be worth keeping around in 2013, so they figured they might as well let him go now.

The international draft is all about MLB making money and the union selling out non-members

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - MARCH 13:  A fan flies the Dominican Republic flag during the game against Cuba during Round 2 of the World Baseball Classic on March 13, 2006 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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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.

President Bill Murray speaks about the Cubs from the White House

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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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.