Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Athletics pick up Jed Lowrie’s 2018 option

1 Comment

The Athletics announced on Thursday that the club picked up second baseman Jed Lowrie‘s 2018 club option worth $6 million.

Lowrie, 33, finished the regular season batting .277/.360/.448 with 14 home runs, 69 RBI, and 86 runs in 645 plate appearances. He also racked up 49 doubles, the second-highest total in baseball behind Jose Ramirez’s 56 two-baggers.

The Athletics have a lot of depth up the middle, so Lowrie — who is a free agent after the 2018 season — may end up traded if not this offseason, then around the trade deadline at the end of July.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

Getty Images

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.