Cubs’ Ian Happ on failed international draft, qualifying offer talks: ‘It’s unfortunate’
The MLBPA rejected the league’s latest international draft proposal as the sides met their self-imposed deadline.
During collective-bargaining talks last winter, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association left a pair of connected issues unresolved. They set a deadline of July 25 to conclude further negotiations on implementing an international draft, which they tied to the removal of the qualifying-offer system.
That deadline passed Monday, and the players’ union rejected MLB’s ‘‘final’’ proposal, saying in a statement that the owners’ response to its offers ‘‘fell well short of anything Players could consider a fair deal.’’
‘‘It’s unfortunate,’’ said outfielder Ian Happ, the Cubs’ player representative. ‘‘Unfortunate for both parts of it — unfortunate for the international side and for the qualifying offer. That, if we could have got it done, was going to be a win-win. Difficult timing with the All-Star Game and with the draft. Both sides spread pretty thin on that.’’
The international draft ideally would address corruption and exploitation in the current system. Whether it’s the best way to do so and what other measures MLB needs to take have been up for debate, tapping into a complex issue with plenty of potential unforeseen consequences.
‘‘I think, more than anything, the way that international amateurs enter right now is not as safe as it should be,’’ Happ said. ‘‘And we as a group, not just the [union] but [MLB], need to do a better job of [figuring] out how to make sure that those kids are safe, they’re being taken care of, they’re afforded every opportunity to come here and play baseball. And make sure that we continue to have the absolute best talent possible entering into the system and doing it the right way.’’
Prospect injury update
Left-handed prospect Brailyn Marquez had a debridement operation on his pitching shoulder June 17, the Cubs revealed. He’ll miss the rest of the season, vice president of player development Jared Banner said.
Top prospect Brennen Davis, who had back surgery early last month, is progressing well in Arizona, and Banner is hopeful that Davis will return to action in the next two to three weeks. It’s unclear when Davis will rejoin Triple-A Iowa.
On the farm
The Cubs have made several notable promotions in their farm system recently.
They assigned first baseman Matt Mervis, who began the season with High-A South Bend, from Double-A Tennessee to Iowa last week.
‘‘He’s had a really special season,’’ Banner said, ‘‘just making the adjustment from level to level as smoothly as he has after struggling a bit last year.’’
The Cubs also promoted pitchers Jordan Wicks and DJ Herz to Tennessee a week and a half ago.
‘‘Wicks’ season has been a little underrated, in my opinion,’’ Banner said, ‘‘just the way he’s controlled the zone, thrown on a ton of strikes, missed a lot of bats.’’
As for Herz, Banner said: ‘‘He’s been dominant for a long time now, striking out a lot of hitters, and we just felt like we needed to challenge him a little bit. He was going to need to see a different level of competition in order to make some of the changes he’ll ultimately need to make to get up here in the big leagues.’’
Veteran left-hander Wade Miley (strained left shoulder) threw 28 pitches in a live batting-practice session. Shortstop Andrelton Simmons (strained right shoulder) hit against Miley.