Our friend Bill from The Platoon Advantage turned into an old fart at some point in the last week. Specifically in reference to radical ideas about how to optimize pitching staffs and stuff:
I suppose it happens in baseball just as everywhere else, doesn’t it? You get older, you gain experience, and you start to realize that most “revolutionary” ideas are revolutionary because they’re stupid. If they were any good, somebody would be doing it by now. But they’re not any good, so no one is … while revolutionary thinking is good and productive, the vast majority of ideas that come out of it are not. And most, but certainly not all, traditional ways of doing things are done that way for a pretty good reason. The round-table, twelve-men-with-no-starters pitching staff addresses all sorts of real issues, but creates all sorts of bigger problems. The real gains to be made are in the margins, small adjustments here and there, incremental improvements.
He’s right, I think. Which probably makes me an old fart too. But whatever.
Oh well. It’s a good read with some good ideas to keep in your back pocket the next time someone claims that baseball minds have been doing dumb things for the past 150 years.
Now get off Bill’s lawn.
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.