Matt Wieters gave the Orioles a bit of a scare earlier this week due to a sore right elbow, but he’s back in the starting lineup tonight against the Rays as the designated hitter.
There was some concern that Wieters was potentially headed for Tommy John surgery, but Dr. James Andrews reviewed his MRI and determined that the procedure wasn’t necessary. He’s still nursing soreness in the elbow, so the Orioles are having him take some time off from catching until it subsides. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Wieters took grounders at first base this afternoon, which could be another way to ease the stress on his elbow while keeping his bat in the lineup. He has played one game at first base in his career.
Wieters is off to a strong start at the plate this season, batting .341 with five home runs, 18 RBI, and a .934 OPS in 23 games.
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.