Shocker: current Hall of Famers happy no one got elected yesterday

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This Associated Press report is full of living Hall of Famers crowing about yesterday’s Hall of Fame shutout. I won’t quote Goose Gossage because just about everyone in the planet has run his over-the-top rebop by now. Do remember, however, that prior to his induction Gossage believed that the Hall of Fame should open its doors to everyone and since his induction he basically thinks only he, Babe Ruth and maybe Willie Mays belong.

Other Hall of Famers, however, were just as pleased as Gossage. Take Al Kaline, for instance:

“I’m kind of glad that nobody got in this year,” Kaline said. “I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame. And I would’ve felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were.”

His later comments in the article make it clear that his discomfort is due to PEDs, but that doesn’t explain why watching Craig Biggio — a guy, like Kaline, who hung on and got 3,000 hits — would upset him so.

Dennis Eckersley joined the chorus too:

 

Seems right. Guys who are suspected of PEDs are bad. Almost as bad as players who make 13 year-old kids buy pot for them and then defend their actions by saying “I don’t recall anything from over 20 years ago. That’s what I’m sticking to.”  Really: the baseball writers had no problem with the character of a guy who turned teenage team employees into drug mules and then offered a statement that makes Barry Bonds’ flaxseed oil story seem like the Sermon on the Mount, but Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell get blackballed because they heard a guy say that he knew a guy who says that maybe they used steroids once.

It’s all too much. So thank God for Juan Marichal, who won’t play along with this nonsense:

“I think that they have been unfair to guys who were never found guilty of anything. Their stats define them as immortals. That’s the reality and that cannot be denied … What we’re witnessing here is innocent people paying for the sinners.”

Look Juan, you have to understand: there is a price to be paid to keep Goose Gossage happy, and we should all just accept that, OK?

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

Braves
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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.