Craig Kimbrel notched his 50th save of the year Friday in the Braves’ 1-0 win over the Phillies, making him the 11th different reliever to reach the milestone.
In all, there have been 13 50-save seasons, with Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne having gotten there twice. The Orioles’ Jim Johnson could also get there for a second time this year, but he’d need to pick up saves against the Red Sox in each of the Orioles’ two remaining games.
Kimbrel also fanned two batters tonight to up his season total to 98. As we blogged last night, the Royals’ Greg Holland just notched the 14th season ever of 40 saves and 100 strikeouts. Kimbrel owns two of them and could get there for a third straight year with two more strikeouts this weekend.
Kimbrel now has 139 career saves as he wraps up his age-25 season. Only Francisco Rodriguez, with 146, had more through 25. Rivera didn’t have a one, as he was a rookie starter for the Yankees in his age-25 campaign.
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.