Baltimore was linked to Ervin Santana before signing Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year, $50 million deal and now Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Orioles are still interesting in added Santana too.
Because they’ve already parted with their first-round draft pick to sign Jimenez the Orioles would only need to give up a second-round pick for Santana. Their second-rounder is 54th overall.
By adding Santana along with Jimenez the Orioles could also address their closer situation by potentially shifting Bud Norris to the bullpen. Right now Tommy Hunter is considered the favorite to replace Jim Johnson in the ninth-inning role. Norris is a career-long starter, but he has a 4.36 ERA and there was actually some talk of the Orioles moving him to the bullpen back in December before they’d even added any rotation help.
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.