MLB downplays potential shortage of players for winter ball
by Bob Timmermann
The agreement between MLB, Minor League Baseball, and the Caribbean winter leagues contains an "extreme fatigue" clause that allows many organizations to prohibit their players from appearing in any games this winter in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, or Mexico. Puerto Rico has already canceled its winter season, although it was for other financial reasons.
So will there be enough players to go around? Yes, according to a report in MLB.com.
The "extreme fatigue" reasoning, as detailed in the Winter League Agreement between Major League Baseball, the Winter Leagues and the Caribbean Confederation, has been a part of the contract for almost a decade. It gives Major League clubs the right to withhold a native player from participating in Winter League and cite "extreme fatigue" if a player has reached a certain number of at-bats (500 at-bats for players from Class A to the Major Leagues, and 325 at-bats for players in short-season and Rookie League ball), innings pitched (170 innings at the Major League level, 165 innings for Class A to Triple-A, 80 innings for short-season, 70 innings for Rookie League), or games played (60 games at the Major League level, 55 at Class A to Triple-A, 35 at short-season and Rookie League).
A Dominican Republic newspaper, Hoy, had picked up on this provision, which has been around for a while, but MiLB and MLB officials both say that there will be plenty of players available for all the teams, especially since there are over 1,000 players in the Dominican Republic.