Koji Uehara’s inability to keep the ball in the ballpark since coming to the Rangers in a midseason trade with the Orioles has gotten the previously dominant reliever removed from the World Series roster.
Texas also removed fellow reliever Yoshinori Tateyama from the roster, adding right-hander Mark Lowe and catcher Matt Treanor in their place.
Treanor will serve as the Rangers’ third catcher behind Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba, while Lowe will replace Uehara and Tateyama in a low-leverage middle relief role after missing the past month with a hamstring injury. Lowe had a 3.80 ERA and 42/19 K/BB ratio in 45 innings during the regular season.
Uehara’s struggles obviously led to his removal from the roster, but it also speaks to Texas’ exceptional bullpen depth that Uehara and Tateyama aren’t needed after combining to throw 109 innings with a 3.22 ERA and 128/20 K/BB ratio this season. For a lot of teams they’d be the primary late-inning relief options.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.