Baseball players are coming to the U.S. from Australia in increasing numbers, but much more talent remains untapped.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Drew Samuelson is the Player & Coach Development Coordinator for the Australian Baseball Federation and has worked in baseball since 2007. A native Seattleite, Drew spent two seasons as the Director of Baseball Operations at Seattle University as it resurrected its Division I baseball program after a 30-year absence. He also worked for the Tacoma Rainiers in 2009 as their Media Development Coordinator. Drew spent two seasons managing his own website, pacificprospectreport.com, which produced proprietary video and scouting reports of prospects in the Arizona Fall, California, Pacific Coast, and Northwest leagues. He is an alumnus of Marist College (NY) and Seattle University. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the ABF.
Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
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In the Nationals' and Orioles' battle for the local fan base, the team that blinks first may stand to gain the most.
This past month, I moved back up I-95 from Washington to Philadelphia, where I’d spent all but the previous eighteen months of my life. There has been only one major-league franchise in the City of Brotherly Love since the Athletics forsook Philly in 1955, but as I discovered during my sojourn in the District, many baseball fans in the DC area have been torn between the Baltimore Orioles, for whom many of them grew up cheering, and the Washington Nationals, who emigrated from Montreal in 2005. Neither team has been good during their years of geographic coexistence, and the metropolitan area has not seen a playoff game since 1997, but both teams have slowly begun to develop the young talent necessary to compete. Although animosity stemming from Orioles owner Peter Angelos’ opposition to a Washington franchise has cost the O’s some fans, many in the DC area have yet to determine their allegiance.
Scoring a deal with a particular prospect from south of the border involves a complicated dance between organizations, agents, and buscones.
When I talk to people about the July 2nd market, after understanding the basics (conveniently covered last week), they want to know how a deal is made. Part of this is due to the human fascination with the unknown, particularly when there's been a long buildup and some handicapping involved, as in a trade deadline or draft in any sport. The other part is some combination of fascination with celebrities (executives, agents, and players), negotiations with millions of dollars at stake, and curiosity about how your favorite team does business.
I break it down this way because, at its core, a trade deadline, draft, or opening of a free-agent market doesn't seem intrinsically interesting. If you really look at it, these events garner more interest than the majority of games, despite wins and losses from these games being the currency by which those three events are judged. If one frames July 2nd this way, we're debating about high school sophomore-aged kids from foreign countries who are long shots of ever being a big-leaguer of consequence. At this point, I start wondering why I'm even writing about it; then I realize that these events just are that interesting, people want to read about them, and we may never completely understand why, but then some of the best things in life are inexplicably appealing. So, without further psychoanalysis, let's jump into the art of the deal.