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Thread: A top Astros prospect might challenge service time

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    A top Astros prospect might challenge service time

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/0...grievance.html

    George Springer - usually considered a top 15 or so prospect - might file a grievance against Houston for sending him down after not signing a team friendly contract. I hope he wins this. To many teams screw over players on service time and the Astros are just a stupid franchise that deserves to get nailed on this.

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    The players are getting screwed over but this is basically tradition since the salaries got out of control the last couple decades. If they want to change this, they need to add something to the next CBA. The problem is that any kind or money or service time issue that affects minor leaguers generally gets crapped upon by the MLB players union. They tend to only concern themselves with the issues of established players.

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    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Because it's tradition, I don't think the player just optioned will get much sympathy.

    There have been good discussions on TD about whether we should try to "lock up" Buxton and Sano with a contract like this but challenging service time is a new wrinkle.

    I subscribe to the belief that teams should just play their best 25 guys and be really really grateful if a player you've drafted and developed proves to be so valuable that you might have to pay him sooner rather than later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post
    I subscribe to the belief that teams should just play their best 25 guys and be really really grateful if a player you've drafted and developed proves to be so valuable that you might have to pay him sooner rather than later.
    Just playing devil's advocate, but what if it is abundantly clear that you will not have the option or ability to pay him, but the "sooner rather than later" scenario instead refers to his green-eyed agent convincing him it's best to hit a big market payday ASAP and leave the boonies behind?

    I'm looking at you Alex Meyer.

    If Meyer happened to turn into a Justin Verlander, do any of us really believe that Boras won't do everything in his power to get him to NY as quickly as possible?
    Last edited by nicksaviking; 03-24-2014 at 11:15 AM.

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    The comp to this discussion is the Longoria contract that effectively did the same thing but I would note that the Longoria contract was signed after he was already in the majors (April 18, 2008) and had played a couple of weeks. Because of this they broke the connection between the contact this looks a little more on the up and up.

    If there are any lawyers out there to comment, would this be considered blackmail? The Astros are threatening his pay and service time unless he signs a contract below market value.

    Definition:
    to exact or attempt to exact (money or anything of value) from (a person) by threats or intimidation;

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    Senior Member All-Star Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
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    Wouldn't he still be playing under the terms of the contract he signed when he turned professional?

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    I am not a lawyer, but this looks like a couple of issues that could be a big problem(devil's advocate).
    1 Attempt by agents to have minor leaguers on a separate set of rules from major league union.
    2. Attempt to have courts revisit pro team contracts and possibly use the court system to change the rules(to the detriment of small market teams).

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    Quote Originally Posted by beckmt View Post
    I am not a lawyer, but this looks like a couple of issues that could be a big problem(devil's advocate).
    1 Attempt by agents to have minor leaguers on a separate set of rules from major league union.
    2. Attempt to have courts revisit pro team contracts and possibly use the court system to change the rules(to the detriment of small market teams).
    This wouldn't go thru the courts, it would be brought to an arbitration panel to make the call. This is most similar to Perkins case several years ago, when he was saying the Twins we're keeping him in the minors longer than he need to be. They came up with a settlement on days, that long term, turns out had no affect on how much he earned.

    If a player is worth giving a 7 year major league contract last August, but is not worth putting on the roster now that means either the team was foolish to offer the contact to start with, because he wasn't ready and they now see that. Or the team wants cost/ team control for 7 years, not 6, and when the player wouldn't sign a potential team friendly deal, they decided to keep him in the minors in a projected bad season until they get that 7th season. The latter is very hard to prove, unless they out right say it in front of witness.

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    Senior Member All-Star Thrylos's Avatar
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    Twins' 48th round pick in 2008 btw

    The team is acting within its prerogative. The player has no case.

    What's next? Challenging a trade? Holding out for a larger contract? This is baseball, with guaranteed contacts and rules governed by the CBA. That simple.

    And it is the only major sport with guaranteed contract and no salary cap. I think that the MLB players and first round picks like Springer who signed for decent $ have it pretty well... There are bigger fish to fry and that is with the rest of minor leaguers who make below the poverty level...
    Last edited by Thrylos; 03-24-2014 at 05:03 PM.
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    Lets not forget he hit like .191 or whatever. Not exactly numbers screaming promotion.

    Also his contact rate was 3rd worst in all of triple AAA. I might be wrong but his bat needs some improvement.

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    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    I have a tough time believing he's going to win this. His only argument is "they offered me a major league contract and then sent me down".

    He's a good prospect, but he doesn't even have an airtight case based on performance. There's definitely a fine line here, and I am not even sure this is unethical (at least in this particular scenario). The Stros are basically saying that they will absorb the risk of him not performing well in exchange for a cheaper deal. He's getting some salary certainty and potentially earlier free agency. I think he might have a case if he was able to establish that he's clearly ready, but it isn't as if he put up a Sano like A+ season in AAA last year. He has some issues, and he didn't put them to rest this spring.

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    I'm with diehard. This won't go anywhere (if indeed he files). He's only played 62 games at AAA, and didn't have much of a spring. While no fault of his own, there's really no objective evidence at this point that he belongs in MLB immediately, which is what it would take to win such a grievance.

    Also, even if he signed the 7 year contract last fall, he still could have been optioned to the minors this spring -- he just would have made a lot more money doing it (although there would have been no service-time benefit to Astros in doing so). It's no different than how guys used to sign "major league" deals out of the draft -- it put them on 40 man, but not necessarily the 25 man.

  15. #13
    There was an article discussing this up at Fangraphs the other day:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-m...-team-control/

    If the players union could somehow prove the team acted in bad faith by reassigning Springer to the minors in retaliation for refusing the contract, they would certainly have a valid reason to file a grievance. They won't be able to make that case though, because as people already mentioned, he hasn't done anything that would convince a neutral arbitrator that the team isn't sending him down for performance reasons.

    A rebuilding team with limited resources like the Astros has every incentive to buy up the arbitration years of its most talented players as a cost-control measure, and in cases where players aren't interested, has an equal incentive to leave those players in the minors to develop as much as possible before starting the service clock. That's not the team "screwing over" the players, it's the team acting in its best interest within the current rules of the CBA, and it certainly doesn't make them a "stupid franchise," it makes them a smart one.

    Did I mention how absolutely stacked with statistically-savvy, sabermetric types the Astros front office is? Maybe the Twins should try that.
    Last edited by JustinCB; 03-25-2014 at 03:02 PM.

  16. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinCB View Post
    A rebuilding team with limited resources like the Astros has every incentive to buy up the arbitration years of its most talented players as a cost-control measure, and in cases where players aren't interested, has an equal incentive to leave those players in the minors to develop as much as possible before starting the service clock. That's not the team "screwing over" the players, it's the team acting in its best interest within the current rules of the CBA, and it certainly doesn't make them a "stupid franchise," it makes them a smart one.

    Did I mention how absolutely stacked with statistically-savvy, sabermetric types the Astros front office is? Maybe the Twins should try that.
    On the first part, all teams, including the Twins, have played the service time game. Perkins and Neshek both openly complained about it.

    As to the other part, it's hard to say that the Astros front office is doing anything great. They've lost a ton of games - last year the Twins won 15 more games than Houston. They are terrible. No one is watching their games. They were 27th in attendance. Despite having the number one pick in the last two drafts (and 4 top 10 picks in the last 6), they've passed on Buxton (#1 prospect), Bryant (8) and Gray (12) for Correa (7) and Appel (39). They've traded off nearly every thing they've owned but it's hard to say that they've done a better job of developing prospects than the Twins, esp if you consider that the Twins just graduated 3 top 100 prospects and their farm system is still considered #1 (BP), 2 (Klaw) or 4 (BA).

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