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Brewers granted extra option for Junior Guerra

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Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Brewers pitcher Junior Guerra was told by his agent that his team was granted an extra option because he didn’t have enough full minor league seasons under his belt. For the uninitiated, an option allows a team to send a player down to and back up from the minor leagues as many times as they want in a year. Most teams have three “option years” for players on the 40-man roster, but in Guerra’s case, sometimes it’s four.

Guerra, 33, is a bit of an oddity because he debuted in the majors in 2015 at the age of 30. His timeline before that:

  • Debuted in the minors in 2006 in the Braves’ organization, released the following March
  • Signed by the Mets in October 2007, club released him in June 2009 after he failed a drug test
  • Bounced around in the international American Association as well as foreign baseball leagues from the second half of 2009 to 2014
  • Signed by the White Sox in October 2014, debuts in the majors in 2015
  • Claimed off waivers by the Brewers from the White Sox in October 2015

As a result of all of that, Guerra has 207 2/3 innings in the minors across parts of five seasons. So that’s the justification for giving the Brewers an extra option year.

Guerra doesn’t become arbitration-eligible until after this season and he won’t hit free agency until after the 2022 season, so his freedom within Major League Baseball is already limited. And now the Brewers have the luxury of controlling him even more with an extra option year.

The MLBPA, which is already gearing up for a fight with the owners, should take Guerra’s situation to heart. They should even fight on his behalf specifically. Guerra has only so many years left to make money and that is hampered by a system designed for teams to control players in their late teens and early 20’s. It’s an unfair system for players in general, but it’s really bad for older players who break through late in their careers like Guerra. The overarching issue is that minor leaguers aren’t compensated fairly — in part because the union has neglected to include them — and because teams are granted six years of control once minor leaguers reach the majors.

It’s a really crummy situation for Guerra, but one potential bright side is that it may be the catalyst the union needs to fight to take down some of these unjust systems within baseball.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.