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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.