I saw the headline “Vernon Wells trying to hit his way into the Angels’ outfield,” and my first thought was that this was some sort of Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan situation. WATCH OUT, MIKE TROUT!
But really: Wells is totally raking this spring: .389/.455/.889 with three homers. granted (a) he’s playing later in games and is thus facing crappier pitching; and (b) spring training stats aren’t worth a diddly-durn, but after the two years he’s lodged in Anaheim any success on Wells part is worthy of note.
Still, as Anthony Witrado reports in the linked story, Wells just doesn’t have a position. Mike Scioscia is doing the right thing in giving Peter Bourjos every opportunity to play center, making Mark Trumbo his DH, is keeping Trout on a corner, and is relegating Wells to spot-DH duties and a backup outfield role to start the season.
Granted, having Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols at first and right will likely lead to some DL time and that will give Wells and opportunity here and there. But really, this is how it should be. Sizzling spring or not, if Wells is getting, like, 400 plate appearances in 2013, something has gone dreadfully wrong in Anaheim.
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.