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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There's nothing left to do, but wait. Composite image by Jack Brame.

For the first time in nearly a quarter-century, Major League Baseball has entered into a lockout in which team officials and players cannot communicate with each other until both sides are “satisfied” and have come to an agreement on labor negotiations.

Before December 1st, MLB free agents were being signed left and right with teams like the Rangers spending over half a billion dollars on players that include Kole Calhoun, Jon Grey, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager.

Other teams that opened their wallets this offseason were the Mariners, Mets and Tigers.

Baseball free agency came to a screeching halt once the December 1st MLB CBA ended. As of right now, players can't sign with any team until the lockout has concluded.

Now that Major League Baseball has entered this work stoppage, the question on everyone’s mind is what does this mean for the sport going forward?

The short answer is no one knows. This process will take some time and most owners have a wait and see approach in regard to this stoppage. Labor negations can be a long, meticulous process that could drag out for weeks, if not months.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred seemed optimistic that a deal should get done between both the owners and the MLB Player’s Association sometime before the 2022 regular season starts.

"We believe that an offseason lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season," Manfred wrote in a letter to fans. "We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive lockout was necessary because the players' association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive."

That being said, it may be some time before any deal is made between either side, thus leaving certain free agents in a temporary limbo like Carlos Correa.

The 27-year-old shortstop looked to be the most coveted player available this offseason and would earn a major payday. Just like his fellow shortstops, Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to that of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Francisco Lindor. All of whom signed deals or extension’s of at least 10-year $300 million dollars or higher.

The aforementioned Seager signed a 10-year deal worth $325 million with the Texas Rangers two days before the current CBA ended. Correa was looking to earn a deal similar to this, and the Rangers were one of the team’s that looked to obtain the All-Star shortstop.

Another club that had been linked to Correa was the Tigers, but they just signed free agent short stop Javier Baez to a six-year $140 million contract.

With both Texas and Detroit out of the Correa sweepstakes presumably, where would the 27-year-old land?

We won’t know for some time due to the ongoing lockout negotiations, but as soon as there’s an agreement, Correa will sign somewhere and get his money.

According to Bleacher Report, the Gold Glove winning shortstop has drawn interest from the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.

All of these clubs are big market teams who are not afraid to spend large sums of money in free agency.

As much as Astros fans would hate to see their beloved shortstop don Yankee pinstripes or wear Dodgers Blue, it seems to be more of a reality Correa won’t be wearing an Astros uniform next season.

Is it possible for Houston to keep Carlos Correa?

Sure, if James Click and the Astros’ front office do something they have never done before and give him an extension of more than $300 million.

The largest contract Houston has ever given out was a 5-year $151 million extension to Jose Altuve.

If they wish to keep Correa, the Astros would have to give him at least a deal similar to what Seager just received in Texas, therefore doubling their largest contract ever given out.

It is not out of the realm of possibilities to believe Houston could accomplish this feat, but it seems unlikely.

A lockout might prolong Correa’s free agency, but once clubs are able to sign again, the All-Star shortstop could sign quicker than we think.

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