First the Links:
The MLB.com Minnesota Twins page is a daily stop for me, mostly because it's one of the only places to find first-hand reports of what's going on Twins camp. After writing this the other day, I was encouraged to see this about Pat Neshek, I think he could be key this year.
My favorite line of that article..."Gardenhire said that the dugout on Saturday in Port Charlotte was full of bees." Like I said, "first-hand reports."
The thinking seems to be that Slowey is the one on the trade block now. I hope for the Twins sake they actually get something decent for him if they trade him, considering how few starting pitchers are available at this point in the year.
This headline is hilarious to me...player gets hit in the shin with a ball, has a bruise...REALLY?! No way, that's crazy talk.
Various places are reporting that Nick Blackburn has been guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation, but based on what Gardy actually said, I'm not sensing this is a guarantee...my translation would read something like, "Blackburn's been pitching really well so far this Spring and if he continues to pitch well, his chances are looking good."
Now the idea:
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the history of Japanese position players that have come over to the Major Leagues. To say that history doesn't favor that transition would be and understatement. Ichiro and Hideki Matsui are pretty much the only ones who've had sustained success and both of those guys were a couple of the best players in Japanese League history. My idea involves changing the posting system. In it's current form, Major League teams makes "bids" on a player and if they win the bid, they get an exclusive window in which to negotiate with the player. If they are unsuccessful in signing the player, they get their money back, but if they are successful, that money is included in the overall contract.
What if the posting fee was delayed by one season, or one year, either way. In this format, the bidding would remain the same and the team with the highest bid would win the rights to negotiate. The process from that point would also remain the same in that the posting fee would be contingent upon successfully signing the player. The difference between the way it is now and my proposal, would be that the posting fee would not be payable until the player had completed one season. If the Major League team put the Japanese player through Spring Training and didn't feel as if that player was ready, they could start them in the Minors for some work. If that player didn't make the Majors by the end of the season, the posting fee would be waived. As it stands right now, between the fee and the actual contract, the cost of these players pretty much forces the Major League clubs to give these guys a starting spot. Clearly many of these players are average at best and might benefit from a short period of less pressure and scrutiny in the Minors. I'm not sure who benefits from the posting fee, but if it's the player, it might provide some incentive to them to improve their skills if they are sent to the Minors to begin their first season.