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Braves exercise option on Tyler Flowers, decline option on R.A. Dickey

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The Braves don’t have a real general manager at the moment, but they made a couple of moves on some veterans all the same.

First the exercised catcher Tyler Flowers‘ $4 million club option for 2018. This was a no-brainer given Flowers’ solid production in 2017, which saw him hit .281/.378/.445 with 12 homers and 49 RBI over 99 games.

Second, they declined R.A. Dickey‘s $8 million club option for starter R.A. Dickey. Dickey was 10-10 with a 4.50 ERA over 190 innings this year which more than earned him the $8 million for next year, but he’s also expected to announce his retirement soon, so that’s that. By waiting for the Braves move on his option before announcing, he’ll be entitled to the $500,000 buyout on the deal. Expect him to knuckle off into the sunset shortly.

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.