Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Jimmy Rollins’ agent, Dan Lozano, is expected to chat with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. tomorrow.
The two sides had multiple meetings at this week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas, but despite your typical rumor madness, they aren’t yet close to a deal.
The Brewers signed shortstop Alex Gonzalez yesterday, which would seem to take away one of Rollins’ biggest potential suitors. The Cardinals make some sense now that Albert Pujols signed with the Angels, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote this morning that they “would be reluctant to enter the bidding for Rollins” if he doesn’t back down from his desire for a five-year deal. Another thing to think about is that the Cardinals might not want to be used as leverage by Lozano (also Pujols’ agent, if you remember) when most feel he will end up back with the Phillies.
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.