Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

How to circumvent international signing bonus pools

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This is more of a must-click link thing, because Ben Badler is the expert here and over at Baseball America he explains how teams have, since the dawn of the international bonus caps in 2011, circumvented the rules.

Not surprisingly, the way rules are circumvented enrich some — trainers; owners who are paying less for international talent — and cost poor, young players. Nor surprisingly Major League Baseball doesn’t really enforce its own rules that much. It would if bonus expenditures were dramatically enhanced, but breaking the rules here and there to get around restrictions appears to be less than a petty misdemeanor in the eyes of the league.

Like anything else: when you make rules which restrict what people would be doing anyway (i.e. spending money to get the best talent) people are going to find a way to do what they wanted to do anyway. And when that happens, it’s probably a good idea to look at the rules and ask what the heck the point of them was in the first place.

Attention Chris Sale: always be alert

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I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often, actually. There are like 250 throwbacks to a pitcher a game, minimum, games are long, guys get tired and there’s a lot of stuff to look at in a major league ballpark. Sometimes the routine stuff slips through the cracks.

Oh well. It didn’t seem to affect Chris Sale much as he dominated the Blue Jays. Maybe it even woke him up a little and gave him an extra bit of adrenaline?

Victor Martinez on the Tigers game last night: “We were horses**t”

Associated Press
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Most of society uses bull excrement to refer to things which are suboptimal or less-than-genuine. Baseball players, however, have a long and rich history of using horse excrement as their epithet of choice. I’m not sure why. I know a lot of people in the military use it — my dad is a big “horses**t” advocate — but it’s huge in baseball. Probably bigger there now than anywhere else. At least since the military moved on to F.U.B.A.R. a couple of decades back.

Jim Leyland is perhaps the most recent Grand Master of “horses**t.” He used to drop it all the time, even when he wasn’t mad about anything. And of course he used to manage the Tigers, so it’s understandable why Victor Martinez would go there to describe the Tigers’ subpar performance last night. From Katie Strang at ESPN:

Martinez, 37, gave credit where credit was due, tipping his cap to a phenomenal performance from Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Rich Hill, but he indicted his own team’s meager display in a 5-1 loss.

“Bottom line: The guy threw good,” he said. “We were horses— as an offense.”

And it wasn’t just last night. As Strang notes, the Tigers offense, which is supposed to be a strength of this team, has been terrible lately.

Meanwhile, a Tigers fan friend of mine just asked rhetorically why Martinez is saying this about his and his teammates’ performance instead of Brad Ausmus. Good question! I mused in the recaps this morning that Ausmus is probably on thin ice, but when the players are voicing frustration like this and the manager isn’t throwing a bunch of bats into the shower and giving the “lollygaggers” speech, it’s usually not a good look.

Jim Leyland is going to manage the WBC team next year. He’s rested. He’s ready. Maybe he wants a warmup. The old man comes back as an interim manager? Who says no?!