Logan Morrison wants the fences moved in at Marlins Park

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Marlins Park boasts some of the largest outfield dimensions of any stadium in the majors, so it’s no surprise that some of the team’s hitters would like to see the fences moved in. Count Logan Morrison among them.

Morrison has blasted five home runs in 158 plate appearances on the road this season compared to just one home run in 155 plate appearances at home. While he doesn’t blame his power outage solely on Marlins Park, he tells Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that it has played a part.

“It’s definitely a factor,” Morrison said of the Marlins’ huge ballpark. “And that translates into the average not being there, too. You drive balls to the wall and they get caught. Not only is it not a homer, it’s not a hit.”

Morrison is not alone among Marlins players who would like to see the team bring the fences in.

“I think that would make it fair,” Morrison said. “But it’s not my decision.”

Marlins Park might stifle power production, but ESPN’s Park Factors notes that was 16th in the majors in run production last year and is tied for ninth this year. In other words, while balls might not be going over the fence, the vast dimensions allow for plenty of hits to fall. Morrison is an example of this, as he has a .257 batting average at home compared to a .228 batting average on the road. Still, if the fences are having an impact on the morale of the offense — it’s bad enough being a Marlin — it could be worth it to make the change. Besides, doesn’t Jeffrey Loria want the home run sculpture to do its magic?

It’s worth mentioning that Giancarlo Stanton might be wondering what the fuss is all about, as he produced significantly better at Marlins Park than anywhere else this season. Of course, he could probably play his home games in the Grand Canyon and still be successful.

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.