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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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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