MLBits: MLB's Antitrust Exemption, Who Starts the All-Star Game for the NL? Even MORE Records for Ohtani, Sale, Schwarber, Judge, More

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MLBits: MLB’s Antitrust Exemption, Who Starts the All-Star Game for the NL? Even MORE Records for Ohtani, Sale, Schwarber, Judge, More

Chicago Cubs

The latest on the inquiry into MLB’s treatment of minor leaguers includes a call for an expanded bill that would protect minor leaguers and their labor relations from baseball’s century-old antitrust exemption.

Advocates for Minor Leaguers Call for Expansion of Curt Flood Act

In response to a June 28 letter of inquiry drafted by Dick Durbin, D-Ill., ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah Advocates for Minor Leaguers head Harry Marino is calling on Congress to expand the Curt Flood Act of 1998.

The Curt Flood Act provides a cutout to Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption for matters directly relating to or affecting the employment of Major League players. Marino argues that the expansion of the Curt Flood Act will protect minor leaguers from MLB’s actions, including “openly conspired to reduce the cost of the Minor Leagues in ways that harm both Minor League players and fans.”

Marino argued that if not for baseball’s antitrust exemption, the current treatment of minor league players would be illegal. As it stands now, MLB has the power to (and does) unilaterally set salaries for players, make rules, and issue discipline.

So, with Marino’s response to the June 28 inquiry in hand, what’s next?

As Evan Drellich points out in his column at The Athletic, “such a request is often a precursor to a hearing on Capitol Hill, but the next step in the judiciary committee’s process was not immediately known. It’s possible, as well, that the senators could send a related information request to the commissioner’s office. Congress has many times before threatened MLB’s antitrust exemption, only to ultimately allow it to remain.”

More from Drellich:

Max Fried Bolsters Case for ASG Start

The decision as to who will start on the mound for the National League in this month’s All-Star Game will be no easy one, with multiple candidates making strong cases less than two weeks before the Midsummer Classic. Sandy Alcántara comes to mind immediately. Carlos Rodón is another strong candidate, as is Max Fried, who bolstered his resume with a gem of a start on Wednesday night in Atlanta.

Fried, a SoCal kid who spent many days taking in Dodger Stadium, stymied the St. Louis Cardinals in a 3-0 Atlanta victory. The 28-year-old southpaw threw six scoreless innings before leaving the game with 82 pitches due to tightness in his right glute. Fried said after the game that he plans on making his next start but exited early out of an abundance of caution. Fried struck out four on Wednesday, including this 79 mph hook to one of the hottest hitters in baseball, Paul Goldschmidt.

Fried is pitching to a 2.52 ERA this season (5th in NL) and has allowed two runs or less in eight of his last nine starts for the Braves. Fried, who is a significant reason why the Braves have won 27 games since the start of June and shrunk the Mets’ lead in the NL East to 2.5 games, has helped the Braves win each of his last nine starts and 13 of his past 15.

Fried’s 3.3 fWAR is second in the National League to only Sandy Alcántara (3.4), with Carlos Rodón (3.2) just a tick behind the two fellow ASG starter candidates. Per Bally Sports Braves, since the start of the 2020 season, only Corbin Burnes and Sandy Alcántara have posted a better ERA than Max Fried (2.74) among qualified MLB starters. Fried has logged 308 strikeouts to 77 walks over that span.

Shohei Continues to Make History

In his fifth win in as many starts, Ohtani allowed one unearned run over seven innings of work and struck out 10 Marlins. Ohtani extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to 33.2 innings on Wednesday night, and if that wasn’t enough, he drove in the go-ahead run in the Halo’s victory.

“There can’t be many [records to see] left, right?” Angels acting manager Ray Montgomery said after the game. “I mean, he has most, if not all of them by now. He competes at everything, and he’s relentless. He can’t quench his thirst for what he does. It’s really fun to watch.”

Check out this stat from Jeremy Frank:

Ohtani is making a strong case to start the All-Star Game for the American League on the mound (and he’s also a finalist to start at DH) with a 8-4 record, 2.44 ERA, and a 12.3 K/9 in 81 innings on the mound this season.

At the dish, Ohtani owns a 134 wRC+ and has hit 18 home runs for the Angels. His latest historical performance for the Angels snapped a four-game losing streak.

Odds and Ends …

  • It seems that Chris Sale hasn’t done much growing up since his infamous jersey-cutting incident in Chicago during the 2016 season. Sale, who’s working back from a fractured rib, threw a season-high 72 pitches in a rehab start in Worcester and gave up one earned run and three hits, with five strikeouts and five walks. After being pulled from the game following a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, Sale was seen destroying the WooSox clubhouse.
  • Kyle Schwarber hit two more home runs on Wednesday for the Phillies and is now up to 27 on the season, trailing only Aaron Judge for the major league lead in home runs. Schwarber’s blasts the past two days have made him the first Phillies player to hit multiple home runs on consecutive days since Chase Utley accomplished the feat on April 13-14, 2006. Schwarber’s 27 home runs are the most by a Phillies player in his first 80 games with the team.
  • Aaron Judge’s eighth-inning grand slam on Wednesday marked his 30th home run of the season, a historical mark for Yankees sluggers. Judge tied Alex Rodriguez (2007) and himself (2017) for the second-most home runs before the All-Star break in Yankees history. Roger Maris’ 33 home runs before the All-Star break in 1961 is the most. Judge has some time to chase that record, with the Yankees having 10 games left before the break.
  • There were a couple of wild finishes on Wednesday. The New York Mets scored five runs in the 10th inning to top the Reds 8-3 in Cincinnati.
  • The White Sox erased five deficits en route to a walk-off victory over the Twins in the 10th inning.
  • Frankie Montas, who is sure to be a trade target for contenders leading up to the trade deadline, is dealing with shoulder inflammation and has received a cortisone shot, according to A’s trainer Nick Paparesta. Montas will miss his next start, but no decision on a potential IL stint has been made yet.
  • The Futures Game rosters have been released:
  • Here’s where the ASG voting stands on the final day of fan voting:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.