Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced this afternoon that Yankees infield prospect Thairo Estrada was shot in the hip during a robbery attempt in his native Venezuela at the end of January.
The good news: Estrada is in Tampa at Yankees camp and is recovering OK. He’s expected to be fully recovered soon and is expected to play the bulk of the season.
Estrada, who will turn 22 last week, has been in the Yankees organization since he was 16. Last year he took a big step forward, though, appearing for a time in Yankees major league camp and then having a fine season at Double-A Trenton, hitting .301/.353/.392 in 122 games, showing excellent plate discipline for a guy who is younger than most of his league, and making the Eastern League All-Star team.
Here’s hoping Estrada makes a speedy recovery.
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.