Every-Thing Sports

How to fix MLB's "broken" system

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My affinity for the game of baseball goes back to the late '80s. Most of my fondest sports memories and obsessions trace themselves back to that time. I was the kid who wanted to know everything about anything I was interested in, and sports was at the forefront of my inquisitive beginnings.

I remember the Bash Brothers in Oakland, Orel Hershiser's '88 season, and the Reds ending the A's dynasty (as well as Rob Dibble and Chris Sabo's speeches at their celebration). My favorite team back then were those Braves' teams of the '90s. We moved to Atlanta the summer of '91 in the midst of them going worst to first and beginning their run.

As I grew older, I began to look into the business side of things in sports. Contracts, their structure, salary caps, team revenue streams, etc. Whatever I could read about or research, I found fascinating. Keep in mind, this was just before and during the internet boom. I didn't have quality internet access until I was a freshman in college.

One thing that has stood out to me is the fact that baseball players have the highest average salaries of all major pro sports in this country. They play a 162-game schedule, plus playoffs, over a seven month period. Playing almost everyday is tough, but it isn't as physically demanding as football, or as fast-paced as basketball.

Over the last few offseasons, baseball has seen a switch in philosophy. No longer are teams backing up the Brinks truck and giving free agents a blank check. Top stars like J.T. Martinez, Jake Arrieta, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado have all found themselves without the deals they were expecting heading into spring training. Part of the reason is that baseball is no longer as popular, therefore no longer as profitable, as it was years ago when guys like Alex Rodriguez could get multiple $200 million-dollar plus contracts.

Another reason is the obviously more team-favorable system when it comes to players under team control. I have a proposal to help fix baseball's broken system:

Players are placed under team control for at least six years on an active 25-man roster. Teams will often hold players down in the minors, or stashed on the 40-man roster, until they feel they're ready to start their six year clock in the big leagues. Prime example locally is George Springer. He won't be a true free agent until he's 31. I propose teams sign their drafted rookies to similar deals like the NBA and NFL have. A simple four or five year deal, with team options for the fifth or sixth year seems logical. However, if the player is still in the minors or not, the team would have to resign him to a new deal. This eliminates the team from stashing the player and holding off his 25-man roster clock. This also rewards the player for working hard and getting to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

Teams will benefit under this system if they're able to sign a player to a long term extension before or after his rookie deal is up, but before he prices himself out of their budget. Smaller market teams would have a better chance to retain their players, rather than losing them upon hitting free agency. An example of this is when the Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year deal a few years before he was set to be a free agent instead of going to arbitration. Many were shocked he took the deal, but he bet on himself and the team bet on him living up to an early deal.

This was a mere conversation starter about a sport I feel that could be on the verge of losing its place in our sporting pantheon. Baseball is a game that needs more help that it's willing to admit. Soccer is itching to take baseball's place. It's growing like weeds and prone to take over if baseball doesn't weed and feed it's lawn.

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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