Major League Baseball’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on December 1. The owners and the players’ union have been in the process of negotiating a new one, but one sticking point has been the owners’ insistence on instituting an international draft. The players’ union, of course, does not want to concede on this issue because it is a way for international players’ labor to be exploited.
ESPN’s Marly Rivera reports that Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Nelson Cruz, free agent outfielder Jose Bautista, and free agent reliever Fernando Rodney will attend the bargaining session to speak out against establishing an international draft.
An international draft would likely work like the current amateur draft with the international players being thrown into a pool and then selected one at a time by the 30 teams. The players would likely be under team control for at least six years before being eligible for free agency, meaning the owners would be able to get even more relatively cheap labor while the international players would be missing out on many millions of dollars.
The owners insisted on the international draft as a concession from the players in exchange for abolishing the qualifying offer system. The QO system has impeded free agents in their quest to find an appropriate contract.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.
A surprising move out of Oakland: the Athletics have designated catcher Stephen Vogt for assignment.
Vogt is suffering through a bad season at the plate, hitting .217/.287/.357, so on the basis of pure performance it’s understandable that the A’s may want to part ways with the 32-year-old former All-Star. That said, Vogt is considered to be a leader in the Oakland clubhouse and is one of the last players remaining from the A’s 2013-14 playoff teams.
Catcher Bruce Maxwell has been recalled from Triple-A to take Vogt’s place on the roster. Main catching duties will belong to Josh Phegley.