It was just a year ago that Matt Stairs moved down from the broadcast booth to the dugout to become the Phillies hitting coach. With former boss Pete Mackanin fired, however, Stairs was a man without a country, but now he’s moved on: the San Diego Padres just hired him as their hitting coach.
The Phillies experienced a nice offensive uptick in the one year Stairs served as hitting coach, with increases in run scoring and on-base percentage. It’s possible the new Phillies manager, whoever he may be, would’ve kept him on both because of that and because he has developed a decent rapport with the young Phillies hitters. A bird in the hand beats two in the bush, of course, so it makes sense that he’s choosing move on.
He’ll have his work cut out for him in San Diego. The Padres were dead last in the majors in runs scored and on-base percentage and were 28th in slugging.
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.