A lot of people want to see Adam Greenberg get an at bat in the bigs

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Adam Greenberg made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs in 2005. In his first trip to the plate he was hit in the head and suffered a severe, major league career-ending concussion and positional vertigo.

Though he came back and played in the Cubs, Dodgers, Royals and Angels organizations — and while he has taken his hacks in indy ball — a man named Matt Liston has started a push to get the Cubs to give Greenberg another chance at a major league at bat:

Sports activist Matt Liston, a diehard Chicago Cubs fan, has rallied more than 10,000 people who have signed a Change.org petition calling on the Cubs to give former player Adam Greenberg one more opportunity to bat in a Cubs uniform … “For anyone who’s ever dreamed of playing professional sports — Adam was there and had his dream taken from him with one pitch,” said Liston. “As a lifelong baseball fanatic, I want to see Adam get the at bat he deserved after working so hard in college and the minor leagues to pursue a career in Major League Baseball.”

I am sympathetic to the impulse, and it’s sad that Greenberg was never able to make it back.  But there are a lot of guys who never even got Greenberg’s chance. And a lot of guys who, even if given the chance, also had their careers ended by bad luck and injury.  Even if he’s never had an official at bat, he has had a plate appearance, and as everyone knows, that counts. And even if he gets one more shot, his real legacy is and always will be fighting for three years to make the bigs in the first place. Which is noble, honorable and is a far greater success than almost every other person who has played organized baseball.

I won’t mind if the Cubs give him another shot, but even though it makes me something of a killjoy, I don’t know why Greenberg should get it when no one else gets it. And I don’t know what it accomplishes.

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.