There was a lot of big transactions yesterday in the world of major league baseball. The Washington Nationals signed Stephen Strasburg to a record deal, the Seattle Mariners signed Dustin Ackley, and the Texas Rangers traded for Ivan Rodriguez.
But there was one move yesterday that went under the radar that I think is worth talking about. Yesterday, the Kansas City Royals sent 3B Alex Gordon to Triple-A Omaha.
Gordon, who was hitting .198 with three home runs and 11 RBI has clearly been struggling at the plate all year and just recently came back from hip surgery. However, don’t let the Royals fool you into thinking this was all about performance – it’s not. This demotion had just as much to do with Gordon’s service time than anything else.
If Gordon spends at least 20 days in the minors, then the Royals will have him under team control until 2013. Gordon is currently slated to be a free agent after the 2012 season.
This is everything that is wrong with major league baseball’s service time rules. Isn’t it the goal of major league baseball to have teams put the best product on the field? These rules need to be changed.
Every year teams keep top prospects in the minors to start the season or send prospects down in the middle of the season just to get another year of service out of them. It’s utter nonsense.
Were the Milwaukee Brewers better with Ryan Braun in the minors to start the 2007 season? Were the Tampa Bay Rays a better team with Evan Longoria in Triple-A in April of 2008? Or are the Royals a better team for the last month and a half with Gordon in Triple-A?
The answer to all these questions is a 100 percent NO.
I get why teams do this. If you are a small market team like the Royals or Brewers, then it makes complete sense. You want to keep a potential star as long as possible before he leaves to go to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox.
I get it, but it shouldn’t be that way. If Matt Wieters gives the Baltimore Orioles the best chance to win, he should be catching – not Gregg Zaun.
Baseball is doing a disservice to it’s teams and more importantly to it’s fans. When I go to a game, I want to see the best players on the field. I don’t want to see a backup who is only playing to keep a seat warm for a potential star in Triple-A.
Baseball needs to do something about this. Alex Gordon belongs in the major leagues trying to work his way out of his slump and trying to help the Royals win.
He doesn’t belong in Triple-A.