MLBits: MLB Responds to Senate Inquiry, Judge Chases Maris, Juan Soto Is Worth All Your Prospects, Chapman, Ohtani, More

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred making baseball look bad at every turn is like death and taxes at this point.

Manfred, MLB Responds to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

Commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball submitted a 17-page response to members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday Morning. The 17-page letter is in response to a request for information on the treatment of minor league players made by four senators – Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Mike Lee, R-Utah – asked Manfred how MLB’s antitrust exemption pay for minor leaguers and other areas of the business of baseball.

Those senators also submitted a similar request for information to the non-profit Advocates for Minor Leaguers, who submitted their response earlier this month. Advocates for Minor Leaguers executive director Harry Marino claimed that baseball’s antitrust exemption was the reason for the way that MLB can force its players to sign the Minor League Player Uniform Contract, which pays minor leaguers $400 per week in the lower levels of minor league baseball and $700 per week once they reach Triple-A if they ever do. Those salaries are also only paid during the minor league season, leaving players considered professionals in that industry without compensation for parts of the year.

Rob Manfred disagreed with the notion that minor leaguers aren’t paid a living wage during the All-Star Game festivities last week, continuing to do everything he can to make himself and baseball look tone deaf at every opportunity.

I’ll attach a thread with the 17-page response for you to view yourself, but here’s the takeaway: Rob Manfred disagrees with the premise of the claims. Manfred believes that minor leaguers are paid a living wage and that MLB’s antitrust exemption ensures that players are paid the wages they are rather than suppressing their earnings potential.

The next step in this process is likely a hearing on Capitol Hill. Evan Drellich reports that a spokesperson for the senate committee is “definitely” planning to have a hearing. September or October are target dates on the calendar, which is perfect since that’s the last time of the year MLB wants bad press.

Here’s a thread with the full 17-page response from MLB:

No. 39 for Judge Ends Pitching Duel in The Bronx

The Yankees and Royals found themselves in quite the pitching duel on Thursday night in The Bronx. Kansas City’s Brady Singer was dealing against the Yankees, holding them scoreless over seven innings of work while surrendering one hit and striking out 10, and walking one.

Yankees starter Jameson Taillon struck out eight Royals and allowed no runs on four hits over six innings. The bullpens were equally impressive, with Ron Marinaccio tossing two perfect innings in relief of Taillon with three strikeouts and Clay Holmes holding the Royals scoreless in the ninth inning despite walking a pair of Yankees.

Dylan Coleman threw a perfect eighth inning and struck out two in relief of Singer for the Royals, but Scott Barlow wasn’t as fortunate as the other four pitchers in this game. Barlow had to face Aaron Judge in the bottom of the ninth inning, and well, here’s what happened:

Judge drilled home run No. 39 on the season to give the Yankees a walk-off victory over the Royals. Last month I mentioned Aaron Judge’s potential race for the Yankees’ all-time single-season home run record, but now it seems like something that might actually happen.

It has taken Aaron Judge 97 games to reach 39 home runs this season, good for an average of 0.40 home runs per game, or a home run roughly every two-three games. The Yankees have 62 games left, and Judge has played in all but three of their first 100 games, so let’s assume he stays healthy and will play 60 of those 62 games. If he hits home runs at the same pace over those final 60 games, he’ll hit 24, which will put him at 63 home runs.

That math has us watching Judge potentially break Roger Maris’ single-season record of 61 during the season’s final week, which will be a fantastic storyline to follow. It would also tie Judge with Sammy Sosa (1999) for sixth on the MLB single-season home run list.

Don’t Overthink It, Give Washington Whatever They Want for Juan Soto

The MLB trade deadline is always a good time and comes with plenty of triumph and sorrow. Triumph for contenders whose deadline acquisition gets them over the hump and ends in a World Series banner that will fly far longer than the careers of any prospects given up in the deal. Triumph for rebuilding clubs who flip a player for a package of prospects that eventually become cornerstones of their next successful era.

There’s the flip side, of course, sorrow for teams that don’t win it all and lose out on valuable prospects that could help them down the line. There are also teams that flip a proven commodity for a bevy of players that turn out to be nothing in the long run.

That’s the fun of deadline day, right? Prospecting and analyzing every square inch of FanGraphs, deciding who was the winner or who was the loser despite not really knowing either for years to come.

Then there are the deals that weren’t made because the cost was perceived as too high. Some of those deals will live as stains on the resumes of GMs and scouting personnel forever. Tim Nicolai wrote up a fascinating story about teams that didn’t pull the trigger on a player comparable to Juan Soto’s perceived market value at the time the Marlins were shopping the then 24-year-old superstar and eventual Hall of Famer.

I’ll let you read it for yourself, but I will give you my takeaway: There is NO package of prospects that aren’t worth a generational talent like Juan Soto. NONE. ZERO.

Odds and Ends …

  • Blue Jays third-baseman Matt Chapman is raking of late, and his .459 batting average since July 14 is the best in baseball:
  • Shohei Ohtani continues to do Shohei Ohtani things out in Anaheim:
  • Julio Rodríguez probably has the AL Rookie of the Year locked up at this point, but the NL Rookie of the Year is more of a conversation. Here’s where has the candidates to date:
  • What a catch!
  • Kyle Schwarber keeps on mashing, hitting his 32nd home run of the season last night:
  • Me when I par the first hole of the day and then slice my drive on the second hole into oblivion and take a six:

    written by

    Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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