Athletics outfielder Matt Joyce is suffering from a prolonged bout of right elbow soreness, according to a report from Julian McWilliams of The Athletic. Joyce hasn’t made a start in the outfield for six consecutive days and will likely be kept off the field for another week, though McWilliams adds that he should still have plenty of time to recover by Opening Day.
Joyce, 33, is entering his second season with the club. He produced some career-high totals in 2017, slashing .243/.335/.473 with 25 home runs, an .808 OPS and 2.4 fWAR in 544 plate appearances. Entering 2018, the veteran outfielder is expected to shift from right field to left field, where he’ll platoon with Chad Pinder as Stephen Piscotty takes over in the right field corner.
While concerning, it doesn’t look like Joyce’s elbow issues will keep him sidelined for much longer. John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the left fielder has already started a throwing program, which will help him work back to full strength prior to the A’s season opener on March 29. In the meantime, he’ll be confined to DH duties over the team’s remaining 17 Cactus League contests.
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.