Baseball America has another one up
, and it looks like the M's are cleaning up on the lower levels, getting rid of IF Dean Zorn, LHP Jose Suriel, OF Donato Ruiz, and RHP Juan Colon.
None of these moves are really in the least bit surprising. The organization lost confidence in Zorn's ability to play short and he never really came through on the offensive potential he was suppose to have as a seasoned switch-hitter. Suriel looked great at certain times, but was the worst reliever out of the pen at others for the Sox. The loss of Ruiz, in my mind, sheds some of the last remaining evidence of the old M's Dominican scouting. He had put up okay numbers in the DSL, but he was never really a prospect, just a guy they had around to fill a few different roles. Colon, again, wasn't that good after they found out his real name amd age (at least I'm assuming that he and the other Colon from years back are one and the same). I would characterize this as the typical visa-related house cleaning that seems to fall every year around this time as the M's player development staff starts to go over who they want to bring stateside next year.
In addition to these names, we have a list out of minor league free agents
, which includes Cs Omar Falcon, Luis Oliveros, and Guillermo Quiroz, IFs Jason Bourgeois, Ismael Castro, and Scott Youngbauer, and RHPs Scott Atchison, Cibney Bello, Rich Dorman, Jared Eichelberger, Mike Flannery, Jeff Harris, Justin Huisman, Aaron Looper, Nate Mateo, and Clint Nageotte. As some of these guys are active in the LVBP right now, I'm going to keep listing them until they sign elsewhere. I won't speculate much as to who I think will be retained and who won't just yet though.
The Labor Deal and You
The details of the new major league baseball labor deal
are out to the public.
As usual, a lot of the changes are on top. Revenue sharing is now capped a little and the threshold before a team has to pay it will be steadily increased (good for the Yankees). Players traded in the middle of a multi-year contract no longer have the right to demand a trade again (bad for Javier Vasquez). The deadlines surrounding players being offered, accepting, and being able to re-sign with the same team are also being removed (good for Roger Clemens).
As the minors and the draft go, bigger changes have been made. Type C free agent compensation has been eliminated entirely, which I would say is good for all parties involved. Type A has been reduced from the top 30% to the top 20%, and Type B is cut down from 50% to 40%, which would probably mean less pondering as to how a Greg Colbrunn-type player ended up being a Type A.
Another practice added is that teams who fail to sign a first-round pick will, instead of getting a supplemental rounder, get the pick immediately after that slot in the next year's draft. Good overall, as I don't think that it's something that's likely to be abused and it does help ease the talent drain.
Fans worried about protecting players for the Rule 5 Draft will have less to lose sleep over, as the deadlines to be added have been upped by a year for both classes. In some cases, this may lead to some prospect stagnation in the higher levels, but really, if a player has proven himself, he will be (barring wackiness) up in the big leagues, and if a player hasn't proven himself by the end of those time periods, he probably won't. In this instance, I think that the M's, and other teams who have shifted towards signing young Latin American talent, benefit as they don't run as much risk of having low minors players snatched up because they spent a few extra years in the DSL as sixteen and seventeen-year-olds. Good for baseball, good for everyone.
Perhaps the most crucial change to the draft itself is that, starting next year, teams will have until August 15th to sign their players, effectively eliminating the draft-and-follow practice. On one hand, this encourages negotiations between teams and players to remain active and make their intentions known right away. On the other, JuCo players suffer because their performance at a level of mixed competition will come under heavier scrutiny, and the incentive of performing better while under the drafting rights of a MLB team is gone. For the M's, it also means they can't hook up random high school draftees with potential with some JuCo to keep them under observation, and having reaped some of the benefits of the old practices, that will sting a little. Aspiring athletes will either have to work hard to get their scholarship or a spot on the team right away, or be left in the dust.
Of all the proposed changes to the minor leagues, among them, eliminating the complex leagues and instituting and international draft (snicker), this is probably one of the better agreements they could've come up with. The extention of the period before Rule 5 eligibility does little to streamline things, and some would argue that baseball continues to waste money on a system that appears to yield little for the investment, but with the impact of high school drafting and international signing, trying to speed things up any more wouldn't necessarily be feasible. Regardless, college baseball doesn't lose out. It's influence remains the same, but they can also bank on certain recruits being involved right away instead of holding out for the money.
Baseball, in all areas except Junior Colleges, seems like it will benefit from the new deal.
Winter League Stats (10/22/06)
Arizona Fall League
2B Michael Garciaparra: 6 G, 26 ABs, 6 R, 11 H, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 5/1 K/BB, .423/.464/.500
RHP Craig James: 3 G, 0-0, 6.75 ERA in 2.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2/4 K/BB
RHP Stephen Kahn: 3 G, 0-0, 7.71 ERA in 2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2/4 K/BB, HB
LHP Bobby Livingston: 2 G (2 GS), 0-1, 20.65 ERA in 5.2 IP, 17 H, 13 R (13 ER), 3/2 K/BB, 2 HB
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith: 4 G, 0-0, 7.94 ERA in 4.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R (5 ER), 7/3 K/BB
3B Matt Tuiasosopo: 8 G, 34 ABs, 7 R, 6 H, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI, 8/4 K/BB, .176/.263/.265
OF Mike Wilson: 8 G, 34 ABs, 6 R, 8 H, 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI, 11/3 K/BB, .235/.350/.441Hawaiian Winter League
(which started before the Fall League, you know...)
LHP David Asher: 3 G (3 GS), 0-1, 8.38 ERA in 9.2 IP, 15 H (HR), 10 R (9 ER), 7/7 K/BB, HB
OF Sebastien Boucher: 11 G, 32 ABs, 10 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 3 3B, RBI, 9/5 K/BB, CS, 3 HBP, .219/.375/.469
C Jeff Clement: 7 G, 19 ABs, R, 3 H, 5/0 K/BB, HBP, .158/.200/.158
1B Reed Eastley: 10 G, 35 ABs, 2 R, 9 H, 2B, 5 RBI, 10/3 K/BB, HBP, SB, .257/.333/.286
RHP Joe Woerman: 7 G, 1-0, 5.40 ERA in 8.1 IP, 12 H, 5 R (5 ER), 10/3 K/BB, WPMexican Pacific League
RHP Jorge Campillo: 2 G (2 GS), 0-1, 5.73 ERA in 11.0 IP, 11 H (HR), 9 R (7 ER), 10/2 K/BB, 2 WP
1B Bryan LaHair: 9 G, 35 ABs, 9 R, 10 H, 2 2B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 7/5 K/BB, CS, .286/.375/.514Venezuelan Winter League
RHP Nibaldo Acosta: 1 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1/0 K/BB
RHP Yorman Bazardo: 2 G, 0-0, 3.38 ERA in 2.2 IP, H, R (ER), 1/0 K/BB
RHP Cibney Bello: 2 G, 0-0, 7.71 ERA in 2.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 0/4 K/BB
RHP Ivan Blanco: 1 G, 0-0, 0.00 ERA in 1.1 IP, 3/0 K/BB
RHP Rich Dorman: 2 G (1 GS), 0-1, 2.70 ERA in 3.1 IP, H, R (ER), 3/3 K/BB
LHP Jose Escalona: 2 G, 0-0, 9.00 ERA in 1.0 IP, 2 H, R (ER), 0/1 K/BB
RHP Emiliano Fruto: 2 G, 1-0, 6.00 ERA in 3.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4/1 K/BB
IF Jesus Guzman: 2 G, 3 ABs, 1/1 K/BB, CS, .000/.250/.000
C Luis Oliveros: 1 G, 3 ABs, .000/.000/.000
C Guillermo Quiroz: 5 G, 12 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 1/4 K/BB, .250/.438/.250
The Dominican Winter League has started up, but I've yet to see any Mariners representatives and the odds seem good that they'll be limited to Rafael Soriano and Julio Mateo, for obvious reasons, with the chance of a de la Cruz sighting.
This year marks the first year I've seen stats for the Liga Paralela, the Venezuelan Winter League's equivalent of a minor league system. It's broken down into east and west divisions, and the west, where the M's affiliate is, has five teams, the Mariners, the Giants, the Cardenales, the Caribes, and the Indians. The M's affiliate has mostly VSL players (at least they're keeping them active), with a few former VSL M's mixed in as well, if they're not quite polished enough to contribute with the big team. While this is all somewhat interesting to me, I'm not going to be reporting any of those stats because they're updated irregularly, it seems, and if regular winter league stats are regarded as meaning nothing...