Cole Hamels pitches second straight shutout

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Cole Hamels went the distance against the Marlins on Monday, recording his second straight shutout after blanking the Braves last Tuesday.

Hamels, who last month agreed to a six-year, $144 million extension with the Phillies, scattered seven hits in the gem. It was his sixth career shutout.  He’s now 13-6 with a 2.91 ERA for the season.

Along with Johan Santana, Hamels is the second pitcher this year to throw shutouts in back-to-back outings. Phillies teammate Cliff Lee was the last pitcher to throw three in a row, doing so against the Marlins, Cardinals and Red Sox last June. Hamels will get the Brewers next as he tries to match Lee’s feat.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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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.