Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MLB allows Red Sox a 41-man roster

Well, try as I might, I just cannot see how this is an acceptable contract under Major League Baseball league rules. Andrew Miller, the once-promising Tigers prospect who flamed out in Florida, has signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox. He could have gotten major league contracts from the Pirates and Indians of the world, but he's with the Red Sox.

That's something baseball can't fix. People will take less to win, just the same as the Heat loaded up on decent veteran players who decided to take 50% or greater pay cuts to play with Wade/James/Bosh.

Miller's contract, on the other hand, is not the same thing.  But the contract he has with the Red Sox is egregious and unfair to the game.  If the Red Sox put him on the major league roster, he gets $1.3 million.  Fair enough. If he then gets sent to the minors, because he can no longer be optioned, he would have to be designated for assignment and, therefore, made available to all teams.  But in this case, it's different. If he gets DFA'd and someone claims him, he has an option for $3 million that vests for 2012.  In other words, the Red Sox have a ready-made 41-man roster, because they can take him off the 40-man at will, so long as no one feels interested in paying $3 million for a player the Red Sox deemed unworthy of playing in the majors.

That MLB allows this kind of provision defeats the entire purpose of being designated for assignment.  The 40-man roster is supposed to make it so that teams like the Red Sox will occasionally have to lose off 26th men that might prove to be solid roster pieces -- or even starters -- for lesser clubs.  Instead, it will just make the rich richer -- players will sign these poison pill contracts with the teams they don't want to leave -- the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Phillies -- but the Indians? No way.  Bud Selig needs to exercise his authority to act in the best interests of baseball and void the contract.

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