T.R. Sullivan has a new Inbox column up...
Stuff on the centerfield battle, Sullivan saying Martin Perez has no chance of breaking camp as a reliever, Tanner Scheppers moving to relief, Mike Napoli's contract situation, and why Alexi Ogando is going to the bullpen instead of Matt Harrison, among other things...
Of particular note to me was something I wasn't aware of in regards to the new CBA, either because it wasn't widely publicized or because it was widely publicized and I just didn't notice it:
I've noticed that the Rangers have added, among others, Conor Jackson, Brad Hawpe and Joe Beimel to Minor League contracts. It seems that under certain circumstances, any one of those guys could play key roles for the Rangers. It's just that the right circumstances might not be on Opening Day. Which players have out clauses in their contracts and when are they?
-- Aaron R., Dallas
Jackson and Hawpe are both covered in the new CBA rules concerning free agents with six-plus years of experience who sign Minor League contracts. By April 1, the Rangers have to do one of three things with them: Add them to the 25-man roster, release them or pay them a $100,000 bonus. If the clubs pay the bonus and the players go to the Minors, then they are automatically given a June 1 "opt-out" date. That means they can take their free agency if they are not on the Major League roster.
So teams have a lot less flexibility in their ability to stash veterans in the minors over the course of a full season.
UPDATE -- Maury Brown clarifies the $100,000 bonus issue:
@lonestarball Yes.— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) March 12, 2012