The Phillies will hold a press conference at 9AM this morning to introduce Jake Arrieta. Before he departed for Clearwater, however, Arrieta penned a nice farewell to Chicago, where he plied his trade for the past four and a half seasons. Like, he literally penned it, in pretty nice handwriting, as you can see below.
In the letter he said “[i]n the midst of what felt like never ending adversity and failure, I was traded to the Cubs on July 2nd, 2013. This day was the beginning of a four and a half year stretch that would forever change our lives. On the verge of walking away from the game I love dearly, Theo called and the transformation began. I looked myself in the mirror, as well as my two year old son and pregnant wife knowing in my heart that everything was about to change.”
And it did change. In those four and a half seasons with the Cubs, Arrieta won a Cy Young Award, a World Series and tossed two no-hitters.
“I was lucky to have dedicated teammates that willingly shed blood, sweat, and tears to achieve our goals. I will miss going to battle with all of you, but look forward to competing on opposite sides moving forward. Lastly, thanks to all Cubs fans around the world for standing with us, and investing in us even when times were tough. You will all be missed dearly. Thanks for the memories.”
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.