Boras says timing of MLB draft endangers player safety

mlb draft
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LAS VEGAS — Baseball super agent Scott Boras expressed concerns Wednesday about what he called a player safety issue related to the timing of the draft.

MLB moved its draft from early June to mid-July last year to make it part of the All-Star Game festivities.

“The benefit of a later draft is merely a television program,” Boras said as he addressed the media during the second day of Major League Baseball’s general managers meetings in Las Vegas. “This is hurting players. It’s hurting scouting. It’s hurting evaluation.”

Boras said the later dates prevent clubs from giving new players an adequate chance to acclimate themselves to pro ball.

“We’ve had players come into camp after not playing for six to eight weeks after their high school season,” Boras said. “They’re immediately asked to perform.

“This had eroded the evaluation system because scouting professionals do not have the ability to evaluate the next draft market for the summer. They’re precluded from attending all the normal events they used to attend to get familiarity both in character and in performance evaluation.”

Boras said he would like to see a minor-league level added that would be above rookie ball for players to develop.

Boras also said he wasn’t against the pitch clock, which will be instituted next year on the major-league level after the minors experimented with the system, but argued it would be a mistake for the playoffs. Pitchers will have 15 seconds if no runners are on base and 20 seconds otherwise. Hitters must be in the batter’s box with at least 8 seconds remaining.

“It’s a different scenario than the regular season, and we do not want (the players’) performances rushed,” he said. “We understand why they would probably do that during the season, for the efficiency of the game and what they believe to be a fan-positive move for the shortening of games. But for the postseason, we don’t want these men in a completely different emotional environment and where the settings mean so much more.”

Regarding analytics, Boras said players are fed so much information that they are often overwhelmed. He noted it wasn’t a coincidence the World Series featured two veteran managers in Houston’s Dusty Baker and Philadelphia’s Rob Thomson because both understand the value of communication.

“To be given a flood of information daily without the proper bridge for execution, we’re finding clutter,” Boras said. “We’re finding players that are malperforming. We’re finding players whose confidence levels are shaken.”

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.