We have continued to see minor league signings even with the lockout still limiting most offseason business, though The Athletic’s Eno Sarris and Brittany Ghiroli note that the total number of minors contracts signed this winter is naturally much lower than usual compared to past offseasons. While the lockout extends to MLBPA members, players on MLB contracts, and players on 40-man rosters, some players within these parameters are stuck in a strange middle ground, like Sam McWilliams. Since the righty signed a Major League contract with the Mets last winter but hasn’t actually appeared in a big league game in his pro career, he is both locked out and not an official union member.
It isn’t known exactly how many players are in McWilliams’ status, which is part of the confusion shared over which players are exactly “covered” by the lockout regulations. As a result, some offseason throwing showcases have had to stagger workout times (since MLB scouts aren’t permitted to even observe locked-out players) or even prevent some “covered” players from attending these showcases. McWilliams and others might therefore have even more of an uphill battle in landing a contract during what is expected to be an absolute frenzy of transactions once the lockout is finally over. [UPDATE: Ghiroli tweets that the MLBPA has adjusted its qualification standard for stipends to include McWilliams and other players in his situation]
More from around baseball…
- Niko Goodrum is one of the many free agents still waiting to land his next contract, though the utilityman told The Detroit News’ Chris McCosky that he had plenty of interest prior to the lockout. The Tigers outrighted Goodrum off their 40-man roster in mid-November and he chose to test the open market, saying “we had been in contact with 10 teams….Seven of them were looking to offer big-league deals.” Goodrum’s multi-positional versatility would certainly make him a good fit on many rosters, even if his bat has fallen off over the last two seasons. In 504 plate appearances in 2020-21, Goodrum hit only .203/.282/.350 — a significant dropoff from the .247/.319/.427 slash line he posted with Detroit over 964 PA in 2018-19. Goodrum has no hard feelings towards the Tigers for parting ways, and is now just looking forward to his next big league opportunity.
- Tyler Zombro is planning to attend the Rays’ minor league camp, and tells The Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin that “within the next month to two months, I certainly will be 100 percent” recovered from a skull fracture. In a horrific incident during a Triple-A game last June, Zombro was hit in the head with a line drive, suffering both the fracture and a seizure on the mound. After emergency surgery and a long recovery process, however, Zombro was given medical clearance by MLB last month and got back onto a mound for the first time since the injury.