More fun excerpts from Terry Francona’s book

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Anecdotes and dirt keep leaking out about Terry Francona’s upcoming book.  Most people think it’s good fun and dishy. Others have a more negative view about Francona going public.  Either way, there are some funny things coming out.

Like this bit about Manny Ramirez in the 2004 World Series, passed along by Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

During Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, Ramirez got into an argument in Spanish with Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina. Molina was accusing Ramirez of stealing the Cardinals’ signs.

Francona turned toward plate umpire Chuck Meriweather: “Chuck, Manny doesn’t even know our signs.”

Francona turned to Ramirez, and asked, “You don’t know our signs, do you, Manny?”

Ramirez replied, sheepishly, “No.”

Sounds about right. As does the other, far more sinister stuff about Manny and his attitude which Finn passes along. I loved watching that guy hit, but how anyone could manage him is beyond me. Kudos to Francona for doing it so long and not totally flipping out.

Oh, and in this post, Finn quotes a passage with a great Curt Schilling line about Deion Sanders as well as a funny Jeter/A-Rod juxtiposition.

I doubt the book is going to be Great Literature. But it sounds like it’s going to be a great read.

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.