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The Daily Chop: Minor League restructuring, Madison Bumgarner and more

Would the Braves be willing to forfeit another draft pick to sign Madison Bumgarner?

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Is Major League Baseball’s minor league system headed for a major shakeup? Last month Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reported that the MLB has a proposal on the table that would eliminate the major league affiliations of more than 25 percent of minor league clubs as part of a restructuring of the minor league system. The Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and minor league teams expires at the end of the 2020 season. Negotiations for a new PBA are ongoing and the proposal by the MLB is thought to be a preliminary offering but would introduce radical changes that would leave thousands of minor league players out of work. Major League Baseball says that the reorganization described in its proposal is necessary in order to make the minor leagues more efficient and to improve conditions and facilities.

On Sunday, the New York Times published a list of 42 teams that would lose their major league affiliation as part of the proposal. For the Atlanta Braves, the Appalachian League’s Danville Braves and Florida State League’s Florida Fire Frogs would be on the chopping block. The list also interestingly includes the Chattanooga Lookouts whose history dates back to 1885 per the story in the Times. Those teams loosing their affiliation would be part of what the MLB calls the Dream League which would be be essentially an independent league.

It is still early in negotiations and it may take some significant time for all of this to play out. However, at this juncture, it appears some significant changes are coming for minor league baseball as we know it.

More Braves News

Ronald Acuña Jr.’s younger brother Bryan was part of a showcase at Salt River Fields in Arizona this week and showed off a similar looking swing to his older brother. Bryan Acuña was one of 116 participants in Major League Baseball’s Trainer Partnership International Showcase. Bryan is just 14 and won’t be eligible to sign until 2021.

The Braves were thought to be one of likely suitors for free-agent starter Madison Bumgarner but that was before they swooped in and snagged his former Giants teammate Will Smith earlier this week. Signing Smith will cost the Braves their second round pick and $500,000 in international bonus pool money. Would Atlanta be willing to sacrifice another pick to sign Bumgarner? Perhaps, and the decision could actually be tied to what happens with Josh Donaldson. If Donaldson were to sign elsewhere, the Braves would get back a compensation pick of their own.

Baseball Prospectus writer Ginny Searle goes deep on Atlanta’s signing of Will Smith.

Team USA fell to Mexico 3-2 in 10 innings in the Bronze Medal Game of the Premier12 tournament in Tokyo. With the victory, Mexico earns a spot in the 2020 Olympics. The United States will have another chance to qualify for the Olympics via the Americas Qualifier which will be held in Arizona in March of 2020.

MLB News

More details concerning the Houston Astros’ sign stealing scandal continue to unfold. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that Kevin Goldstein who is a special assistant to GM Jeff Luhnow and a former writer at Baseball Prospectus, emailed scouts and asked them to spy on opponents’ dugouts in advance of the 2017 postseason.

The Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly begun discussions for a contract extension for catcher J.T. Realmuto. It isn’t known yet how far along the discussions are but there appears to be momentum and a deal could get done before spring training.

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