MLB teams already looking for loopholes in CBA

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Baseball America’s Ben Badler has an awfully interesting article up on how teams are already (and how they still might) look to exploit grey areas in the CBA in order to sign international prospects.

Starting on July 2, teams will be limited to spending $2.9 million in bonuses to international free agents through the next year. That’ll make things difficult on many teams, some of whom have exceeded that amount just to sign one player in past years.

So, teams will likely look for every advantage they can, whether it’s exploiting a loophole or maybe making some under-the-table payments. Badler has a number of examples of how things could work, and it’s well worth reading.

The Giants might be ready to part ways with Hunter Pence

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Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.

The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.

Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.