On ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the Braves wasted a strong effort by starter Julio Teheran and a seventh-inning, go-ahead two-run home run by Dan Uggla to fall to the Mets 4-2. The Braves ended their eight-game winning streak and in so doing, also ended the Mets’ five-game losing streak. The two teams, still, are heading in opposite directions in the NL East standings. The Braves remain 4.5 games ahead of the Nationals, 6.5 ahead of the Phillies, and 11 ahead of the Mets.
Mets starter Shaun Marcum had struggled through his first six starts of the season after returning from a neck injury in late April. He brought a 6.59 ERA into tonight’s outing, but stymied the Braves for the most part over his seven innings of work, yielding just the two runs on four hits and no walks while striking out 12. Teheran, Marcum’s counterpart, allowed one run on five hits and three walks while striking out five in 6.2 innings.
The Mets went ahead in the bottom of the eighth against Braves reliever Cory Gearrin thanks to an RBI single to left by John Buck which tied the game, and a two-run, tie-breaking single to right field by Ike Davis. Closer Bobby Parnell made short work of the Braves in the top of the ninth to nail down the victory.
Yesterday we wrote about Carter Stewart, the American pitcher who, after failing to sign with the Braves last year, went to junior college. Rather than re-enter the draft this year, Stewart has signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League.
Jeff Passan of ESPN has the details on that deal: $7 million for six years. That’s five million more than the lowball offer the Braves gave him after drafting him last year and over $2 million more than he would’ve gotten if the Braves had paid him slot last year. This year he was projected to be a second round pick, Passan says, so his slot bonus would’ve been under $2 million.
As Passan notes, though, he has the chance to make out far better than that, though. That’s because his six-year deal would allow the now-19-year-old Stewart to come back to the U.S. as a 25-year-old free agent via the posting system. Passan does some back-of-the-envelope figuring, comparing what he’d make in the U.S. had he stayed vs. the $7 million he’s now guaranteed in Japan:
In a near-optimal scenario, Stewart would receive around $4 million for the next six years — and would not reach free agency until after the 2027 season, when he will be 28. His deal with the Hawks would guarantee Stewart $3 million more and potentially allow him to hit free agency three years earlier.
He could flame out, of course. The Braves’ lowball offer was based on concerns about his wrist. Even without that, there are no guarantees when young arms are involved.
But there is a $7 million guarantee for Stewart now, and the chance to do better than if he had stayed in the U.S. And the opportunity was created, in large part, by Major League Baseball’s clamping down on pay for draft picks and doing whatever it can to extend team control over players via service time manipulation. Stewart, and his agent Scott Boras, are merely exploiting an inefficiency in the market.