Kansas City traded Melky Cabrera to San Francisco last month because they got good value in return, but also presumably because they recognized he was coming off a career-best season that would be difficult to duplicate and was about to get pretty expensive.
Sure enough, Cabrera and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6 million contract, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
That represents a nearly five-fold increase from his $1.25 million salary last season, when the Royals picked Cabrera up off the scrap heap following his release by the Braves. If he repeats his 2011 performance $6 million is a bargain, but Cabrera is a career .275 hitter with a modest .729 OPS and the 27-year-old will be a free agent next offseason.
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.