|ESPN.com: Buster Olney||[Print without images]|
|The Mets' disappointing season has likely earned Sandy Alderson's club a protected draft pick.|
It was not immediately clear if the ruling would let Cuban baseball players jump to the U.S. major leagues without restrictions imposed by local or U.S. government policies. Cuban athletes will have to pay taxes on any earnings from foreign clubs, and the 51-year-old U.S. embargo outlaws nearly all American transactions with the Cuban government.
"A change in Cuban laws does not affect our licensing procedure," said John Sullivan, spokesman for the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces limits on transferring money to Cuba.
Athletes will be eligible to play abroad as long as they fulfill their commitments at home, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported. For baseball players, that means being available not only for international competitions but also the November-April domestic league.
Those candidates are already sure to be gun-shy about a position that seems to have the job security of a Spinal Tap drummer, working under a general manager with shaky job security of his own and an inability to keep his managers employed.
Obviously, Wedge bears his share of blame for the Mariners’ struggles, along with [Jack] Zduriencik. When a team under-performs as badly as this one has, there’s enough fault to go around -- obviously, right up to the very top, Howard Lincoln and Chuck Armstrong, the two constants through all the dysfunction. And their fingerprints are all over this mess.
To put the manager and general manager in a position where their only choice is to accept lame-duck status and try to make the most of it, well, that’s just foolhardy. The Mariners should have either cut them loose or committed fully to them, not some totally inadequate halfway solution that virtually ensures a crash landing.
In the meanwhile, we’re left with a team [its] architect insists is close to becoming a winner. But with the Mariners, the pockets of genuine talent always seem to be undermined by poor decisions and a lack of vision, all in an ongoing environment that lacks the commitment necessary to build a winner.
General manager Rick Hahn seems ready to offer Konerko latitude.
“We’ll sit down with Paulie and have a direct conversation with him face-to-face about what he wants and how he’s feeling and what he hopes to accomplish next year, as well as what the team’s going to look like and how he could potentially fit and what the plan would be going forward," Hahn said.
Would Konerko be comfortable in a reserve role?
"The only thing I can say on that would be the only place I could do that would be here because my family likes it here, my kids love it here, it’s a great place to be in the summer," Konerko said.