One of the things the owners wanted in this latest CBA but didn’t get was an international draft. The logistics of it just seemed really difficult, though, and ultimately they settled for a cap on signing bonuses for international free agents.
The sports business people are reporting this morning, however, that the league and the union have formed a committee that will meet twice a month to discuss international talent acquisition and a possible future international draft. Kevin Goldstein passes along word that the committee will also discuss arrangements with Mexico, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Hope they don’t get rid of the posting system. I mean, it’s awful, but it gives us a lot to write about, and that’s what’s important.
Anyway, the committee will be staffed by MLB’s Rob Manfred, union head Michael Weiner, union exec and former player Tony Clark, Sandy Alderson, Andrew Friedman, Kim Ng, Rick Shapiro and Stan Javier. Some fairly big hitters there, so you get the sense that everyone is taking it seriously.
As always, however, don’t expect speed from a baseball committee.
First baseman/outfielder José Martínez agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals on Saturday, per a team announcement. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that Martínez will receive $3.25 million in the deal plus incentives if he earns a more stable place within the starting lineup.
Martínez, 30, played 887 games in the minors before making his major-league debut with the Cardinals at the tail end of the 2016 season. The veteran first baseman has been nothing but productive in the three years since his debut, however, and turned in a career-best performance in 2018 after slashing .305/.364/.457 with 17 home runs, an .821 OPS, and 2.3 fWAR through 590 plate appearances. While he brings some positional flexibility to the table, he’ll be forced to compete against Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill for a full-time gig in right field this year, as Paul Goldschmidt currently has a lock on first base.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the extension wasn’t solely precipitated by Martínez’s productivity in the majors, but by a competing offer from an unnamed Japanese team over the offseason. Goold adds that Martínez would have earned “significantly more than he would in the majors” had the club sold his rights. In the end, they ultimately elected to ink him to a more lucrative deal themselves. He’ll be eligible for arbitration in 2020.