Bill Baer

Students march carrying Cuban flags during a march against terrorism in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. Youths marched today through downtown Havana in protest against the United States policy towards the island nation and demanding the that U.S. free three Cuban agents imprisoned there. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

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.

Padres claim Zach Lee off waivers from the Mariners

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 25:  Zach Lee #51 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 25, 2015 in Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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The Padres announced on Tuesday that the club claimed pitcher Zach Lee off waivers from the Mariners.

Lee, 25, was traded by the Dodgers to the Mariners back in June for Chris Taylor. Between Triple-A Oklahoma City (Dodgers) and Tacoma (Mariners), Lee compiled an ugly 6.14 ERA with a 107/39 K/BB ratio in 148 innings.

Padres executive Logan White was with the Dodgers when the club selected Lee in the first round (28th overall) of the 2010 draft, which might have contributed to the Padres’ decision to claim Lee. The right-hander figures to serve as pitching depth in the Padres organization.

Orioles sign Logan Ondrusek to a one-year deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29:  Logan Ondrusek #66 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 29, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Orioles have signed reliever Logan Ondrusek to a one-year deal worth $650,000. The contract includes a team option for the 2018 season.

Ondrusek, 31, made only seven appearances for the Orioles in the second half this past season, yielding seven runs on nine hits with three walks and four strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. In the year and a half prior, Ondrusek pitched in Japan.