Every-Thing Sports

The fix for MLB's broken system

MLB.com

Two months and two days ago, I wrote about MLB's broken system. if you read the article (which you should have, and if you didn't, shame bell for you), I mentioned towards the end that I would flesh out my fix. Well folks, today's the day! I've managed to overcome my adult ADD, second-guessing myself, the Game of Thrones series finale, and a couple personal issues to bring you my fix for MLB's dumb ass contract and call-up rules.

Contract Length

Astros George Springer

George Springer

Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

MLB rules benefit the teams way more than it benefits the players. Teams can hold players in purgatory, or what's commonly called "team control" and "arbitration" based on when they get called up from the minors.

George Springer is the poster boy for this because he won't get a chance to be an unrestricted free agent until he's 31 years old. That's because the Astros held him in the minors until they were ready to call him up and start his service time clock. I propose first and second round picks get four year deals with a fifth year based on arbitration. Third and fourth round picks get three years with a fourth year of arbitration. Fifth and remaining rounds get three year deals and two arbitration years since they're drafted later and aren't as likely to pan out. Teams could choose to sign guys to a fair market extension and avoid the arbitration year if the player has proven himself worthy, a la Alex Bregman before this season began.

Arbitration Years

Astros Forrest Whitley

Astros' top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Arbitration years will continue to be negotiated like they are currently. The difference in my system would be when it occurs. As I laid out earlier, depended on where you're drafted will determine your arbitration years. If a team holds a player in the minors, they'll have to resign him at a fair market deal after his one arbitration year. Forrest Whitley, Astros' top pitching prospect, would be eligible for an arbitration year or extension after this season. Under my rules, it would either force the team to bring him up ASAP, or hold him down in hopes of not having to pay him big money on an extension.

Contract Extensions

Yordan Alvarez, Astros. top hitting prospect

Yi-Chin Lee, Staff photographer, chron.com

Contract extensions will be signed and handed out NBA style. Your team you are signed to and/or drafted by will be able to sign you to a longer term deal worth more money overall. However, this system is also based on the NFL system which rewards players that outperform their rookie deals. So if Yordan Alvarez has one full year left on his rookie deal before he's eligible to sign a new one, would it benefit the Astros to get him up to the big leagues to see what he's worth? Maybe so. Or, maybe they would benefit from keeping him down. If so, they could underbid him on his next deal and risk losing him to another team as an unrestricted free agent? What if the Astros could give him six years and an extra five to eight million per year? What if he doesn't want to resign with them and takes less to go elsewhere to have a btter shot at winning like Kevin Durant?

Post-Option Year Offer

J.B. Bukauskas

Greg Fisher, Tri-City Valley Cats

Let's say a guy is playing in his contract year because the team opted into his option year, but he hasn't quite proved himself worthy of a full extension. In this situation, similar to Jadeveon Clowney, he would be eligible for what I would call a post-option year offer. This would look very similar to the NFL's franchise tag. The exceptions would be that this is a one time only tag, and it would be an average of the option year they were just on (representative of their draft position) and the top 15 players at his position. After the post-option offer year, a player would be free to sign with whoever offers him a deal. For example, If J.B. Bukauskus isn't the pitcher the Astros think he is after his last year of his rookie deal, they could use this offer to give it one more year to see if he's worth the investment.

There's so many confusing decisions made under the current system. I chose to feature these three prospects because I feel like they'd already be up at the big league level contributing for this team if it weren't for the somewhat oppressive and archaic MLB roster rules. MLB as a whole could use some major changes. This was just the first in a list of several that I feel strongly about. I'll be writing about more of them in the coming months. The season is just past the quarter mark so we have plenty of time to discuss and dissect baseball. If you haven't already, I suggest you take a look at Barry Laminack's MLB preview. Use this as a program description to the season. Keep an eye out for my next MLB improvement article. Until then, stay tuned every week for my unique perspective on things.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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