Puerto Rico used to produce scads of Major Leaguers. Then MLB subjected Puerto Rico to the draft and things dried up considerably. Whether that is mere correlation or causation is a topic for debate, but the idea that Puerto Rico no longer produces baseball talent the way it used to is hard to dispute.
Now baseball is doing something about it:
Major League Baseball will launch a training program in Puerto Rico aimed at talented teenagers who cannot afford specialized academies, an effort to spark player development in the U.S. territory..
Officials will hold tryouts this month in the capital of San Juan and select 50 players ages 14-18 to participate in an intensive after-school program, MLB senior vice president for baseball operations Kim Ng said Tuesday.
This is part of a larger initiative in Puerto Rico, but it’s certainly the largest part of it, and something worth doing.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Phillies signed pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor league deal. If he is added to the major league roster, he’ll earn $750,000 prorated.
Alvarez is still only 27 years old but hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2015 due to shoulder issues. He signed with the Long Island Ducks last month, making seven starts and posting a 3.94 ERA with a 13/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings.
The Phillies learned that Vince Velasquez will undergo season-ending surgery and also placed Zach Eflin on the 10-day disabled list, so the club is just looking for pitching depth to help take them through the end of the season. Any innings that Alvarez is able to handle will be considered a bonus.
Mets third baseman David Wright will begin a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday with High-A St. Lucie. He’ll be the DH.
Wright has been sidelined since May of 2016, first with a cervical disc herniation and, more recently, a shoulder impingement. He has appeared in just 75 games since his last full season in 2014. Wright is under contract through 2020 and is owed $47 million after this year. For now insurance is picking up a large portion of that.
It’s possible he’ll make a return to the Mets before the season out as the competitive portion of their year is basically over and giving him a chance to see big league pitching before he begins what one hopes is a normal offseason might be a good confidence boost. What meaningful role he ever plays in the big leagues again, however, is decidedly up in the air.