As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, the Rangers have a surfeit of middle infield depth. At the Major League level, they have Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus signed to lengthy contracts as well as Jurickson Profar. Beyond those three, prospects Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas are waiting in the wings. With needs at various positions, including catcher, left field, and DH, as well as limited payroll space, it would make sense for the Rangers to deal from an area of surplus to fill an area of need.
Grant points out that the Rangers’ biggest worry isn’t finding a trade partner, but arriving at a deal that nets the Rangers what GM Jon Daniels perceives as fair value for his players.
One executive, left unnamed, told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal during the GM meetings that the Rangers’ middle infield situation was “untenable.”
“We have three guys at the major league level and two guys at Double-A [Odor and Sardinas]; it would be irresponsible not to consider it,” Daniels said of a possible trade during the GM meetings. “Will we ultimately make a deal? I really don’t know. Teams are getting the lay of the land, see what’s out there and make a decision.”
Kinsler, now 31 years old, is signed through 2017 with a total of $62 million remaining on his contract. Andrus is 25 and signed through 2022, earning $6.75 million in 2014, the last year of his old extension before his new one kicks in at a total of $120 million.
The Tigers will promoted Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon to hitting coach for the 2017 season, according to a statement released by the team on Friday afternoon.
McClendon’s history with the Tigers is long and storied. After serving five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates’ hitting coach and manager, he got his start with Detroit in 2006 as a bullpen coach, then transitioned to hitting coach from 2007 through 2013. When the Tigers hired Brad Ausmus to replace former manager Jim Leyland, McClendon took the opportunity to break from the team and pursue another managerial position of his own with the Seattle Mariners, whom he guided to a 163-161 record between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Following his departure from Seattle during the 2015 offseason, McClendon took a spot as skipper of the Tigers’ Triple-A club, managing the Toledo Mud Hens to a 68-76 finish in 2016. His return to the big league stage is accompanied by the hiring of assistant hitting coach Leon Durham, who previously served as the long-tenured hitting coach for Triple-A Toledo.
On Monday we passed along a report that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating over an international draft. That report — from ESPN’s Buster Olney — cited competitive balance and the well-being of international free agents as the reasons why they’re pushing for the draft.
We have long doubted those stated motivations and said so again in our post on Monday. But we’re just armchair skeptics when it comes to this. Ben Badler of Baseball America is an expert. Perhaps the foremost expert on international baseball, international signings and the like. Today he writes about a would-be international draft and he tears MLB, the MLBPA and their surrogates in the media to shreds with respect to their talking points.
Of course Badler is a nice guy so “tearing to shreds” is probably putting it too harshly. Maybe it’s better to say that he systematically dismantles the stated rationale for the international draft and makes plan what’s really going on: MLB is looking to save money and the players are looking to sell out non-union members to further their own bargaining position:
Major League Baseball has long wanted an international draft. The driving force behind implementing an international draft is for owners to control their labor costs by paying less money to international amateur players, allowing owners to keep more of that money . . . the players’ association doesn’t care about international amateur players as anything more than a bargaining chip. It’s nothing discriminatory against foreign players, it’s just that the union looks out for players on 40-man rosters. So international players, draft picks in the United States and minor leaguers who make less than $10,000 in annual salary get their rights sold out by the union, which in exchange can negotiate items like a higher major league minimum salary, adjustments to the Super 2 rules or modifying draft pick compensation attached to free agent signings.
Badler then walks through the process of how players are discovered, scouted and signed in Latin America and explains, quite convincingly, how MLB’s international draft and, indeed, its fundamental approach to amateurs in Latin America is lacking.
Read this. Then, every time a U.S.-based writer with MLB sources talks about the international draft, ask whether they know something Ben Badler doesn’t or, alternatively, whether they’re carrying water for either the league or the union.