Munenori Kawasaki and his .288 career slugging percentage are batting fifth for the Blue Jays

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There are a lot of ways in which I could describe how bad the Blue Jays’ lineup is for tonight’s game, but here’s the easiest one: Munenori Kawasaki, a light-hitting utility infielder with one home run and a .288 slugging percentage in 234 career games, is batting fifth.

Toronto’s lineup starts out really well: Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind. That’s a helluva first four hitters.

Then comes Kawasaki batting fifth, followed by Dalton Pompey, Anthony Gose, Josh Thole, Ryan Goins.

Oh, and here’s the kicker: They’re facing Felix Hernandez. Good luck, boys!

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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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.