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Astros mess

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#81 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 19 July 2014 - 07:09 PM

. Aiken's agent gambled that he could leverage the deals and satisfy his clients.

If that were true that the agent was trying to leverage these two deals for his two clients, wouldn't that be a conflict of interest for the agent to represent both clients?

#82 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 12:37 AM

Clearly you are not a lawyer.


Thanks to the way baseball has antitrust exemption, this is not an issue that can hit the courts. It could go to arbitration, but the players do not qualify for arbitration due to the MLBPA negotiating all players who have not participated in the major leagues out of eligibility for the union and union lawyer protection.

The players' union basically screwed over draftees for years and years, and now Tony Clark is trying to come out the hero and "fight" for the players who were wronged by the Astros. The hole was dug when Clark was still playing, and now he's having to manage through it. The other dumb part of this is the stupid rule against agents working with players who haven't yet signed. An "advisor" cannot fight in the legal world as a representative for the player. An agent can. These things that have been negotiated away by the MLBPA are now hurting future members.

The good thing that should come out of this is that you will hear about a draft medical combine being added. If 30 teams can verify that they have the same report on a player, he can't claim there's no issue. At the same time, if all 30 teams know the issue before the draft, they can't use this tactic to "find something" when they do a physical after getting a verbal agreement put together.

The Astros screwed the pooch here. MLBPA screwed the pooch years before, and it's coming home to roost here. What I hope is that it isn't a case that 3 months from now, no one remembers.
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#83 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

"The other dumb part of this is the stupid rule against agents working with players who haven't yet signed. An "advisor" cannot fight in the legal world as a representative for the player. An agent can. These things that have been negotiated away by the MLBPA are now hurting future members."

Is there such a rule? That seems like an NCAA thing, but I could be wrong.

#84 JB_Iowa

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:12 PM

I would think it would be hard for Close to represent any of the parties in the proceedings. It looks like he's a witness to me (and a really important one).

#85 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:14 PM

The other thing that I keep coming back to is good faith in negotiations. The lawyers of the world could address this more, but I have a tough time believing the Astros have been operating in good faith.

The problem with anti-trust is basically this. If Aiken were a free agent, someone is going to give him more than the 6.5M that the Astros agreed on. As it is, his value is suppressed. The Astros tried and failed to squeeze him for more.

#86 kab21

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:40 PM

. Aiken's agent gambled that he could leverage the deals and satisfy his clients.

If that were true that the agent was trying to leverage these two deals for his two clients, wouldn't that be a conflict of interest for the agent to represent both clients?


The knew the likely demands before they drafted both of them.

The issue here is the non-injury injury. I don't think that is a valid excuse to renege on an agreed upon but not signed offer. As for the 2nd player that sucks but that is the draft game. He knew that the only way the Astros could go overslot was to sign Aiken. When that fell apart so did his offer.

I expect to see some more tweaking in the draft and int'l signings during the next CBA. They made significant progress in both areas but they clearly didn't think a few things through.

I have been rather indifferent about the Astros but I'm not a fan at how they are conducting themselves and it will be interesting to see how this impacts them in the future in the draft and in FA.

#87 drjim

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 01:58 PM

Baseball America had a really good podcast discussing this situation that they released over the weekend.

One aspect I didn't consider enough was the negotiating timeline. I believe the Astros believed in good faith that there was a medical situation with Aiken which made it worthwhile to drop his bonus. However, it seems that after the MRI results came back they just dropped the bonus to the required 40% (to keep them eligible for compensation) and then started negotiating with Marshall with the money they assumed they would save. It seems they never really budged from that 40% level until the last day when it was too late.

I think that is an amazingly foolish way to negotiate. I suspect that if they negotiated in good faith from the day the MRI was revealed they could have reached a settlement, perhaps even at the $5 million dollar level. That should have been the top priority but they played hardball and got burned, and I suspect it will cost them going forward if they try to make agreements with players before the draft.

BA also came in hard and asked the question of whether Astros ownership can trust Luhnow with the next draft. In their three drafts they have one good one (while still whiffing on the best player), one terrible pick, and one complete fiasco. Not a great way to start a tenure.
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#88 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:03 PM

"The other dumb part of this is the stupid rule against agents working with players who haven't yet signed. An "advisor" cannot fight in the legal world as a representative for the player. An agent can. These things that have been negotiated away by the MLBPA are now hurting future members."

Is there such a rule? That seems like an NCAA thing, but I could be wrong.


Yes, until they've officially signed a contract, the person is simply an adviser except for college seniors who have no more eligibility. In the NFL, an agent is allowed to act as an agent without a contract before the draft as there is a cutoff date for returning back to school, similar with the NBA. Due to the odd setup of the MLB draft, players are allowed to maintain college eligibility. Rather than protect players from day 1 that they state their intent to be drafted, MLBPA has allowed this rule, which leaves draftees unprotected by the union until they're in the major leagues and unprotected by legal representation until AFTER they've signed their first contract.
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#89 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:16 PM

BA also came in hard and asked the question of whether Astros ownership can trust Luhnow with the next draft. In their three drafts they have one good one (while still whiffing on the best player), one terrible pick, and one complete fiasco. Not a great way to start a tenure.


I do not agree with this take. Correia, even with the injury, was ranked the #2 prospect in all of baseball by John Sickels (ahead of Buxton). Before his injury, there was a lot of rumble about Correia as the #1 prospect in the entire game. So, the 2012 draft is a widely considered success in the game, their 2013 draft has not gone as planned at the top, but that is completely a hindsight criticism as Appel was considered the odds-on #1 throughout the game. This season is a fiasco, certainly, but judging any draft class before 5+ years from the time of the draft is shortsighted, and there's really not a class before this one that was mismanaged by Luhnow. This year may have burned up a lot of currency with advisers for the players, however, and that aspect of pre-draft discussion (and post-draft negotiating) may need to be done by another member of the front office going forward.
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#90 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:21 PM

Yes, until they've officially signed a contract, the person is simply an adviser except for college seniors who have no more eligibility. In the NFL, an agent is allowed to act as an agent without a contract before the draft as there is a cutoff date for returning back to school, similar with the NBA. Due to the odd setup of the MLB draft, players are allowed to maintain college eligibility. Rather than protect players from day 1 that they state their intent to be drafted, MLBPA has allowed this rule, which leaves draftees unprotected by the union until they're in the major leagues and unprotected by legal representation until AFTER they've signed their first contract.

Right...but all of that is related to college eligibility, right?

How is MLB or the MLBPA responsible for that?

#91 drjim

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:32 PM

I do not agree with this take. Correia, even with the injury, was ranked the #2 prospect in all of baseball by John Sickels (ahead of Buxton). Before his injury, there was a lot of rumble about Correia as the #1 prospect in the entire game. So, the 2012 draft is a widely considered success in the game, their 2013 draft has not gone as planned at the top, but that is completely a hindsight criticism as Appel was considered the odds-on #1 throughout the game. This season is a fiasco, certainly, but judging any draft class before 5+ years from the time of the draft is shortsighted, and there's really not a class before this one that was mismanaged by Luhnow. This year may have burned up a lot of currency with advisers for the players, however, and that aspect of pre-draft discussion (and post-draft negotiating) may need to be done by another member of the front office going forward.


As I said - 2012 was a good draft. And Sickels ranks Correa higher, but BA, Law, mlb do not agree. I'll stay with the majority and say they whiffed on the top player. But it was a good draft, Correa is legit, and they got two other highly regarded guys too.

2013 was a bad draft. Appel still might turn it around but he is a college senior getting lit up in High A while the guy drafted right after him has exploded and the #3 pick is right on target. You can't sugar coat that. And Appel was absolutely not a consensus #1 guy at draft time so it is not just hindsight criticism.

2014 stands on its own merit so far.
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#92 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 03:49 PM

Yeah, drjim is right. Their moves have been a bit puzzling, to say the least. They tanked on the promise of the future and they basically traded this years 1-1 and a fifth round pick for next years 1-2. That's a horrible exchange. Lunhow hasn't made any earth shattering trades - he did a good job getting Lowrie from Boston but didn't get much in return when they flipped him a year later. They moved a young 23 yr old pitcher to the Rockies for Dexter Fowler. Value-wise it's probably a push but Fowler will probably be too old to be a part of the future team whereas the young pitcher (Jordan Lyles) would be in his prime in a few years. Not really a strong move. And a lot of the pitchers they've acquired - either in trades or drafts - have been pretty bad in the minor leagues.

And of course this year they tried to strongarm Springer into signing a team friendly extension, he refused and he was sent back to the minors. Their ridiculous trade proposals (Bud Norris for Dylan Bundy) became public and now the Aiken/Nix fiasco. Individually, every move they made can probably be defended but as a whole, it's really bad.

#93 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:04 PM

Right...but all of that is related to college eligibility, right?

How is MLB or the MLBPA responsible for that?


They can put in a rule to require a declaration before the draft that would then protect those players.
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#94 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:27 PM

As I said - 2012 was a good draft. And Sickels ranks Correa higher, but BA, Law, mlb do not agree. I'll stay with the majority and say they whiffed on the top player. But it was a good draft, Correa is legit, and they got two other highly regarded guys too.

2013 was a bad draft. Appel still might turn it around but he is a college senior getting lit up in High A while the guy drafted right after him has exploded and the #3 pick is right on target. You can't sugar coat that. And Appel was absolutely not a consensus #1 guy at draft time so it is not just hindsight criticism.

2014 stands on its own merit so far.


We'll agree to disagree. Without Correa, there wouldn't have been McCullers or Ruiz. The whole package of that draft to get a legit top 5 prospect in all of the game two years out along with two legit top 100 prospects in the first three picks is elite as far as a draft goes two years out.

2013 has been rough at 1-1 obviously, and his pick fit their strategy in 2013 - high floor. The Astros wanted a pitcher, and they chose floor over upside with Gray vs. Appel. They found Jordan Mills after the 20th round, and he's been receiving rave reviews thus far. Conrad Gregor has moved through two levels this year, and he'll likely be at AA by the end of the year the way he's ripping up high-A. Tony Kemp has already jumped to AA. Devonte German has taken a major step forward, though the numbers aren't showing it yet. Their 2013 picks aren't guys who will leap up prospect lists because they're really not huge upside guys, but every one of their early guys has made progress in 2014.
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#95 gunnarthor

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:32 PM

We'll agree to disagree. Without Correa, there wouldn't have been McCullers or Ruiz. The whole package of that draft to get a legit top 5 prospect in all of the game two years out along with two legit top 100 prospects in the first three picks is elite as far as a draft goes two years out.
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Two problems with that. They could have gotten Buxton and McCullers (but not Ruiz) and McCullers and Ruiz are not nec top 100 guys. McCullers was last year although he's struggled some this year and people are starting to think he's a bullpen arm long term. Ruiz might get ranked next year but hasn't been prior.

The Twins draft - Buxton and Berrios - was easily superior without going cheap or gaming the system.

#96 biggentleben

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 04:46 PM

Two problems with that. They could have gotten Buxton and McCullers (but not Ruiz) and McCullers and Ruiz are not nec top 100 guys. McCullers was last year although he's struggled some this year and people are starting to think he's a bullpen arm long term. Ruiz might get ranked next year but hasn't been prior.

The Twins draft - Buxton and Berrios - was easily superior without going cheap or gaming the system.


Once again, that's two years out. Let's revisit these emboldened statements in 4-7 years when we can see more clearly the fruits of the draft.
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#97 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 20 July 2014 - 11:30 PM

They can put in a rule to require a declaration before the draft that would then protect those players.

That would mean anyone who does loses NCAA eligibility, right? And with it, most of their leverage? How does that benefit college or, especially, HS players?

#98 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 05:41 AM

Individually, every move they made can probably be defended but as a whole, it's really bad.


This is a debacle that deserves criticism, but we're still talking about an organization that ranked in the top 5 for their farm by just about everybody. Someone from Houston prone to defending their club against all comers would probably take a tone you're familiar with to this post.

The bigger test of this organization (much like the Twins) will be how much of this talent graduates into impact roles. But this entire post seems like an effort to tear down someone else to prop someone else up.

Every team has their blunders and successes. (Even acknowledging this was a major blunder)

#99 drjim

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 06:43 AM

This is a debacle that deserves criticism, but we're still talking about an organization that ranked in the top 5 for their farm by just about everybody. Someone from Houston prone to defending their club against all comers would probably take a tone you're familiar with to this post.

The bigger test of this organization (much like the Twins) will be how much of this talent graduates into impact roles. But this entire post seems like an effort to tear down someone else to prop someone else up.

Every team has their blunders and successes. (Even acknowledging this was a major blunder)


This is an historic blunder. There hasn't been a 1-1 that failed to sign since 1983. And it was so preventable.
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#100 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 06:48 AM

This is an historic blunder. There hasn't been a 1-1 that failed to sign since 1983. And it was so preventable.


I totally agree - this was a profoundly stupid incident.