Mike Trout — a big fan of emojis — tweeted a very Mike Trout tweet last night:
That, obviously, means that Trout is traveling with the Angels to New York for their east coast swing. Which is significant because the only reason to be with the team on the road trip is to take part in baseball activities. Which he will: Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times reports that Trout will begin swinging a bat again soon as his recovery from thumb surgery stays on schedule.
Trout suffered a torn ligament in his left thumb on a headfirst slide during the Angels-Marlins game on May 28. His recovery was expected to be between six and eight weeks, and he may be on the early side of that if he’s swinging a bat now.
Trout was hitting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI and 10 stolen bases through 47 games when he went out. In his absence, Cameron Maybin has handled center field, while Eric Young Jr. has been playing left. Young has been hitting surprisingly well, actually. Because of that the Angels have somehow managed to tread water in Trout’s absence, going 10-10 in the 20 games he’s missed. They were one game under .500 when he left.
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.