Daily Distractions: No international draft as MLB chooses to preserve the status quo.

Major League Baseball has decided against holding an international draft in 2014.

The league issued a statement earlier today:

“The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have discussed various issues regarding international amateur players, including the possibility of an international draft. While both parties discussed an international draft, an agreement was not reached on some of the mechanics and procedures related to such a draft. Thus, an international draft will not be implemented in 2014. The parties intend to continue to discuss international amateur talent issues, and the current system of international talent acquisition as described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in place at this time.”

MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner issued the following statement: “At this time, the players are not prepared to accept an international draft. The MLBPA will continue to discuss with players and the Commissioner’s Office the many issues facing its international members.”

The Sports Business Journal reported as recently as 12 days ago that a single draft for eligible baseball players at home and abroad, as well as separate drafts for domestic and international players, were being considered by the league and the Players’ Association.

It’s unclear how or if the lawsuit reportedly brought by Adrian Gonzalez’s father, David, against MLB complicated negotiations.

What does it all mean?

The amateur draft will proceed as planned June 6-8. Teams can sign international players freely but face penalties for exceeding annual spending limits, between $1.15 and $4.25 million, that are tied to their winning percentage last season. Baseball essentially chose to preserve the status quo, warts and all (among them, the “circus”-like tryouts across Central and Latin America come to mind.)

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:
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The Angels will temporarily employ a six-man rotation. Then what?

Jered Weaver C.J. Wilson

Jered Weaver (left) and C.J. Wilson (center) are assured of spots when the Angels go back to a five-man rotation (Getty Images).

Save the date: June 7.

That’s when the Angels will begin a six-game road trip through Boston and Baltimore. It’s also the next time the Angels will employ a five-man rotation.
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Daily Distractions: Going to WAR over the Angels’ pitching woes.

<strong>Jered  Weaver</strong>Like you really needed WAR to tell you the Angels’ pitching is awful after Mike Scioscia did so Sunday?

Here it is anyway: FanGraphs recently calculated the WAR (wins above replacement) for every team by position. (For an explanation of the frequently misunderstood statistic, which is calculated differently by FanGraphs.com and Baseball-Reference.com and has gained popularity in recent years, click here.) According to FanGraphs’ WAR, the Angels have the 22nd-best pitching staff in the major leagues.

Broken down further, their starters rank 20th and the relievers 23rd.

The chart has its limits. Add up the Angels’ position-by-position WAR, and they should have the fourth-best team in baseball. In reality the Angels are 10 games under .500. The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, yet their combined WAR ranks 21st in the majors.

This is why you play the games, why the experts say that you can’t win without pitching.

More bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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Daily Distractions: Caving to the #whiff, like the rest of Major League Baseball.

There’s an episode of The Simpsons in which Krusty the Clown agreed to give away a free Krusty Burger if the United States won gold at certain events in the 1984 Olympics. When the Soviet Union boycotted the Games, Krusty stood to lose $44 million.

For some reason I was reminded of this episode when this came through my Twitter feed this morning:

CJ Wilson ad

Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson is a pitchman for Head & Shoulders’ hashtag-friendly “Season of the Whiff”.

You see, Procter & Gamble is donating $1 to the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) campaign every time a Major League Baseball player strikes out this season. To raise awareness of its Head & Shoulders shampoo brand, P&G is encouraging fans to tweet the hashtag #whiff along with the hashtag of your favorite team.

According to AdAge.com, Head & Shoulders spent $60 million in measured media last year, so MLB’s record strikeout rate probably won’t leave the company’s executives pulling their hair out like Krusty. Which is good, since bald shampoo executives can’t exactly offer a ringing endorsement of their product.

I’ll be here all week.

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