The ultimate lesson of the Phillies-Ben Wetzler affair, writes Baseball America's Aaron Fitt, is that leverage has shifted too far in favor of MLB teams in the amateur draft. Teams generally force quick (albeit legally non-binding) decisions by players on draft night, pressuring them to agree to accept below-slot deals. "The NCAA is going out there saying basically, don't get an advisor," an agent tells Fitt. "Meanwhile, MLB has changed the rules to where advisors are more necessary than ever." And now, Philadelphia's reporting (and the NCAA's suspension) of Wetzler for utilizing an agent adds a stick to the carrot of bonus money and the pressure of the short decision-making timeframe. Needless to say, Fitt advocates for a change to the system.
Here's more out of Philadelphia:
- Shoulder issues are putting an early strain on the Phils' pitching depth, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Having already seen prospect Adam Morgan go under the knife, Philadelphia is now monitoring young pitchers Jonathan Pettibone (who threw a pen session after getting a cortisone shot for a lingering shoulder problem) and Ethan Martin (who took an MRI because he was dealing with pain and working well under peak velocity). It is worth noting that the team also lost a potentially valuable rotation depth piece when it waived Chad Gaudin over medical concerns.
- GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said that the injuries were not explainable, other than the fact that, "sometimes anatomy is just anatomy," reports CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury. Noting that the organization had "one of the most state-of-the-art, medically sound organizations in baseball," Amaro indicated that the cluster of issues was plain bad luck. "You can't do anything about it, other than try to prevent it," said Amaro. "If the guy breaks, he breaks."
- One starting pitcher without apparent physical issue is Kyle Kendrick, who is entering his last season before reaching free agency. As Gelb reports, the 29-year-old righty says that this offseason's free agent spending spree — which included some sizeable deals for durable, mid-rotation arms — provided added motivation. "When similar guys close to your numbers sign those deals, that's a good thing," he said. " … Obviously you see them and you just want to put up better numbers." Though Kendrick hopes to remain in Philadelphia, he says, he has not had any talks with the club about a multi-year deal.