Things are starting to look bad for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The case against them seems to focus quite heavy on the Dodgers, but they aren’t the only team. Sheryl Ring of Fangraphs breaks down a lot of the legalities and possibly penalties (jail time) that people could be facing. Much of the investigation and case revolves around human trafficking, and it’s mostly of Cuban born baseball players. This could get quite bad for Major League Baseball.

The Cincinnati Reds made a few roster moves last week. The team released pitcher Alex Webb and infielder/outfielder Sebastian Elizalde. Webb last pitched in early June for Daytona and spent the final few months on the disabled list. Elizalde was loaned to the Mexican League in early May. He performed quite well, posting an OPS of nearly 1.000 for Monterrey.

Two players also chose to elect free agency. Reliever Kevin Quackenbush and catcher Tim Federowicz will be exploring options for new employment. Quackenbush began the year with Cincinnati, but was sent to Triple-A after early struggles and didn’t return to the big leagues despite dominating the International League. Federowicz didn’t join the organization until late in the season when the Reds had no catching depth in Triple-A due to injuries. It worked out for him as he wound up being called up to Cincinnati late in the year. He was removed from the 40-man roster last week.

Fall and Winter League Baseball is about to start

This week marks the kickoff of fall and winter league baseball. The Arizona Fall League will kick things off on Tuesday. At the end of August when the teams were announced, I wrote about the eight players that the Cincinnati Reds would be sending. You can check that out here. The Reds will be on the Scottsdale Scorpions. Tomorrow they will be the night game, starting at 6:35pm MST. Here’s the list of players that will be playing for the Scorpions:

When it comes to the international leagues, several will also begin play this week. The Mexican Winter League and Venezuelan Winter League will both begin on Friday. The Dominican Winter League kicks things off on Saturday. Both the Puerto Rican Winter League and the Australian Baseball League will begin play in mid-November. For the time being, rosters haven’t been released for many of the teams. Look for a post later this week looking at guys that wind up on the rosters from the Reds organization.


12 Responses

  1. redleggingfordayz

    Perhaps this is one time we can be thankful the Reds weren’t huge into international signings until recently?

  2. Billy

    It seems that the issues have a lot to do with the trafficking of Cuban players. Cuba is one of the few international markets that the Reds have been active in. Any idea if anyone inside the Reds organization is sweating this?

    • Doug Gray

      I haven’t gotten any indications, stated or otherwise, that they are. But, that doesn’t mean much of anything.

    • MK

      Reydel Medina who was released after the 2017 season had quite a story about getting out of Cuba where he spent several weeks in a Mexican jail. It seems like the Puig story included some of that and I am sure his is being investigated.

  3. shaggy

    its funny that “winter” leagues start this week, when we are still having summer like temperatures outside.

    • Doug Gray

      Depends where you live at. Flagstaff, Arizona got snow three days ago. Parts of North Dakota got 8 inches of snow two weeks ago.

  4. MikeinSoCal

    Hey Doug I just read the spin rate article from a couple of days ago. I found it very interesting. It seems that a lot of old school theories on pitching and hitting are changing a bit. These days its about spin rates and launch angles. If you have a good fastball, high spin rate, throw up in the zone. And it seems that instead of trying to hit through the ball and drive it up the middle, it’s now a launch angle thing. I think Scooter changed his power game when he changed his launch angle. And I think JV realized near the end of the season that he needed to change his launch angle.
    Anyway, great article. Let us know the spin rates on some of the youngsters whom perhaps we are not paying attention to.

  5. redlegs4ever

    1.000 OPS in the Mexican League isn’t as good as it sounds, The Mexican League is like Coors Field and the PCL had a steroid baby…

    • Doug Gray

      It was good for 7th best among qualified hitters. Former Reds prospect Felix Perez finished just ahead of him.

      • redlegs4ever

        It’s still impressive don’t get me wrong, I was just trying to bring some context for the inevitable “why did the Reds release him, this organization is clueless” post.

        I had a buddy who was huge on Felix Perez, I never saw it. Glad he’s still getting to play somewhere… Speaking of the Mexican League on baseball reference it’s listed as AAA. That’s obviously not what it is right it’s not MLB affiliated?

  6. Andy

    Well, on one hand, I’d be shocked if a deep dive into Cuban player recruitment didn’t find something fishy or illegal about the Aroldis Chapman deal. On the other hand, his name is big enough that I’d think he would be mentioned in the article if evidence of wrongdoing was already known. The Reds have thrown almost every dollar of international free agent money to players from Cuba… I am nervous about this.

  7. Simon Cowell

    If we are talking human trafficking, seal indictments, and organized crime this could be a death blow to the professional sport or at least to a few franchises. Hopefully the Reds aren’t part of the cabal.
    If often questioned the legality of how international players arrive to play MLB baseball when it takes the average immigrant years to get here. It certainly appears that MLB and possibly other sports leagues have found a way to circumnavigate the proper channels and expedite the arrival of an immigrant to work legally in the United States. If it’s true every team and sport involved should be punished to the furthest extent that the law allows