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Twins release Anibal Sanchez

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The Twins have released right-hander Anibal Sanchez, according to a report from Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. The move is intended to clear roster space for Lance Lynn, who was acquired on a one-year, $12 million deal on Saturday. Sanchez signed with the club on a one-year, $2.5 million deal of his own last month, but the contract was not fully guaranteed. He’ll receive $417,000 after spending three weeks in camp with the Twins.

Sanchez, 34, was on the cusp of his first season with the team after finishing up a six-year campaign with the Tigers. In 2017, he produced his worst numbers during that span, going 3-7 in 17 starts and turning in a 6.41 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 in 105 1/3 innings. It came as little surprise when the Tigers declined his $16 million option at the end of the year, choosing instead to fork over the $5 million buyout as Sanchez entered free agency.

While it originally looked like the veteran righty stood a decent chance of earning a spot in the Twins’ rotation, the recent acquisitions of Lance Lynn and Jake Odorizzi forced him out of the running for a starting role. At least, that’s the reason general manager Thad Levine gave Sunday, insisting that Sanchez’s release had more to do with the new starters the club acquired over the last month and not with any facet of his performance in camp. Sanchez was originally scheduled to start the Twins’ Grapefruit League game against the Rays on Sunday. He’s 0-1 in two appearances this spring with five hits, six runs and five strikeouts scattered over four innings.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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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.