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Astros pitcher Cionel Perez: “I feel abused by this system.”

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Back in September, the Astros agreed to a $5.15 million signing bonus with 20-year-old Cuban pitcher Cionel Perez. However, the deal was voided in October due to medical reasons. The two sides reworked the deal down to a $2 million signing bonus. As the Astros will pay a 100 percent luxury tax for going over their 2016-17 international bonus pool, the new deal means the club pays a total of $4 million instead of $10.3 million.

Perez expressed frustration with the situation in a letter sent to Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association. Via Ben Badler of Baseball America, Perez said, “I am happy to begin my professional career but I feel abused by this system.” He added, “I hope that you understand how these rules in my case are extremely unjust and that you make every effort for the necessary adjustments and considerations to be made. Today should be the happiest day of my life, and I cannot help but feel like I’ve just been robbed.”

Perez continued, “I am very happy and I give many thanks to the Astros for giving me the opportunity to sign again, to represent their franchise and most importantly help me achieve my dream. I know I have a great opportunity, and I will do my best to maximize that opportunity in hopes of winning the World Series that they deserve.”

It turns out that, simultaneously, Perez’s initial contract with the Astros is being treated as both real and nonexistent. With regard to the Rule 5 draft, the previous collective bargaining agreement stiuplated that any player who re-signs with a team that voided his contract must be either entered into the Rule 5 draft or put on the 40-man roster. So, in that regard, his first contract is being considered as having existed.

Perez’s initial contract is being considered as nonexistent when it comes to his amateur status. The CBA states that a free agent loses his amateur status under various conditions, one of which is having been previously contracted with a major or minor league team. If Perez’s contract had been considered as having existed, then he would lose his amateur status and be allowed to become a free agent, giving him the potential to earn more money. Perez claims he could earn $10 million from the Orioles if he weren’t considered an amateur.

International players don’t figure to be happy about the new CBA, either, if they decide to come over to the U.S. to play baseball. The new CBA limits international spending at $5-6 million per year per team. No matter which way you look, team owners are always looking to exploit the labor of its player base.

And That Happened: Thursday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Tigers 13, Orioles 8: Leonys Martin hit a grand slam out of the leadoff spot and the two-slot hitter, Jeimer Candelario, drove in three via a two-run homer and an RBI single. They play for the Tigers, by the way. Figure a lot of you were not aware of that. Heck, outside of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Nick Castellanos, figure most of us don’t know most of the guys on the Tigers anymore. You do know that Manny Machado plays for the Orioles. Know that he hit two homers in a losing cause. Know that, given how the Orioles are doing these days, he won’t be with the Orioles too much longer, I reckon.

Cubs 8, Cardinals 5: Chicago built an early 6-1 lead on a bunch of singles and sac flies and stuff and Jason Heyward capped the Cubs scoring with a two-run homer in the fifth. Jon Lester allowed only an unearned run over six. Every Cubs starter had at least one hit. Anthony Rizzo had three. Heyward, Kyle Schwarber and Javier Baez had two a piece. After the game Joe Maddon said:

“This is so much fun to watch. Keep your launch angles, keep your exit velocities, give me a good at-bat. Seeing inside the ball, using the whole field. With that you’ll see better situational hitting, better batting average. That’s just good hitting.”

Without looking, I’m going to guess that the Cubs’ eight-run outburst was, at least in part, a function of good launch angles and exit velocities. Not that Maddon would be the first person to engage in the fallacy of assuming mutual exclusivity where it does not exist.

Astros 9, Mariners 2: Charlie Morton tossed seven shutout innings, dropping his ERA down to 0.72 in his three wins. He has also struck out 33 guys in 25 innings and has walked only six. At this rate he’s going to be in a three-way race with two of his teammates — Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander — for the Cy Young. Seattle dropped three of four in the series and, as a team, went 15-for-100 against Dallas KeuchelLance McCullers Jr., Cole and Morton.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: Aaron Judge homered and, while the Jays threatened late when David Robertson couldn’t find the strike zone and loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but he got out of the jam with only one run scoring. Judge — who a lot of you wise acres thought would struggle this year now that everyone is ready for him — is hitting .339/.481/.629 and is on a 48-homer, 152-walk pace. So, yeah.

Phillies 7, Pirates 0: OK, I think Jake Arrieta has finally finished his late spring training. Here he tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out ten. Rhys Hoskins homered, Odubel Herrera singled in runs in the second and the fifth, J.P. Crawford and Cesar Hernandez knocked in runs on singles as well. More importantly, look at the photo on the top of this post and acknowledge how spiffy Philly looked in these blues. Their only fault is that teams that do this should, like the White Sox the other day, wear the blues on the road as originally intended.

Braves 12, Mets 4: Matt Wisler was called up from Triple-A to make a spot start. Guessing he’s going to get a bit more than that after allowing only two hits in seven innings. Matt Harvey, meanwhile, allowed six runs in six innings and after the game Mickey Calloway would not commit to him making his next scheduled start. He’s just not the guy he used to be. Preston Tucker drove in five with a bases loaded double and a two-run double. Kurt Suzuki had three hits and drove in three runs, including a two-run homer. The Braves offense leads the NL in runs scored. We were all expecting that heading into the season, yes?

Brewers 12, Marlins 3: It was close until the sixth, when Milwaukee put up a seven-spot. Lorenzo Cain homered, doubled twice and scored four times and Ryan Braun hit a pinch-hit, three-run homer. Those three runs gave him 1,000 RBI on his career. Lewis Brinson — who came over to the Marlins from the Brewers in the offseason trade for Christian Yelich — hit his first two career homers.

Diamondbacks 3, Giants 1: Zack Greinke held the punchless Giants to one run over seven innings, with a Brandon Belt homer being his only blemish. The Snakes got homers from Ketel Marte and A.J. Pollock. The Giants have scored only 51 runs in 18 games. That’s the lowest run total in baseball, tied with the Royals, who have only played 16 games. It ain’t 2014 anymore, is it?

Red Sox 8, Angels 2: And the Red Sox never lost again. Homers from Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. Eight runs on 14 hits against six pitchers. A fine outing from Eduardo Rodriguez. Seven wins in a row and, heck, even though it covers the whole season, 16 of 18 for Boston.