Brewers closer Corey Knebel made an unplanned exit during the seventh inning of Saturday’s Cactus League contest against the Rockies. Postgame reports revealed that the reliever had slipped on the wet mound and tweaked his left knee, though club manager Craig Counsell said the pitcher’s removal was simply precautionary. Knebel won’t take the mound for several days and is considered day-to-day pending further evaluation.
The 26-year-old righty is on the cusp of his fourth season with the Brewers. He enjoyed his first All-Star run in 2017, capping a career-best performance with a 1.78 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 14.9 SO/9 through 76 innings. This spring, Knebel has yet to flash that dominance in limited Cactus League action, surrendering four runs on three hits and two walks in 2 1/3 innings so far.
Thankfully for the Brewers, it doesn’t look like they’ll lose their star closer for any prolonged period of time. Counsell told reporters that Knebel was already scheduled for a couple of off days next week and will reassess the situation after he undergoes treatment on Sunday.
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.