The Blue Jays have officially ruled Marcus Stroman out for Opening Day.
Stroman has been dealing with shoudler soreness, and while the Jays were optimistic that he might be ready for the Opener, he’s just not going to make it. On the other hand, Stroman says that he felt “great” during his bullpen session this morning, so it seems like it’s more a matter of getting him stretched out in time to start the season as opposed to physical problems preventing it.
Obviously the last couple of weeks of spring training will dictate that. If he has a setback and can’t make the first couple of weeks of the season, the Jays will have to scramble a bit to fill his spot in the rotation, with Joe Biagini being the most obvious replacement candidate.
Stroman went 13-9 last year with a 3.09 ERA (ERA+ 149) in 201 innings over 33 starts. Obviously the Jays’ season rests heavily on how healthy he is in 2018.
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.