Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Major League Baseball extreme fatigue list includes 66 Dominicans

The Dominican Winter Baseball League (LIDOM) nowadays features mainly AA and AAA players, with a few major leaguers thrown in. There was a time when the LIDOM was mainly big leaguers, with a few minor leaguers thrown in. The time was that big leaguers returned to their Dominican homeland to play for their beloved hometown teams. That time has passed.

Miguel Tejada was perhaps of the hometown boys to play in the prime of his career with his Dominican Winter League team. Today, the big league clubs tell their players if they can play in the winter leagues and how many games. They may force an American player to go down and play twenty games, even though he wants to enjoy his off-season (see Mark Trumbo). Or they may tell a native of Santiago, Dominican Republic that he can not play with his hometown team because he has pitched too many innings.

Not more than a few years ago, MLB implemented an 'extreme fatigue list' to standardize player's ability to play in the Caribbean winter leagues. A player makes the fatigue list when they reach 160 innings for major league pitchers, 600 innings behind home plate for catchers, and 502 turns-at-bat for infielders and outfielders. These are negotiated for each position and also depend on whether playing time is accrued at the major or minor league levels, but these are rough numbers.

This year, the 'extreme fatigue list' includes a record 66 Dominican baseball players. The list includes Ivan Nova, Fernando Martinez, Wilson Valdez, Jimmy Paredes, Emilio Bonifacio, Erick Aybar, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Esmil Rogers.

The fact is many of these players, especially the established big leaguers, would not be playing in the Dominican Winter Baseball League even if they were not on the 'extreme fatigue list.' These players are making too much money to risk injury for virtually no pay, in comparison to their big league salaries. But other fringe major leaguers or high level minor leaguers that need the extra pay check from a Dominican Winter Baseball League team would welcome the extra work and money.

With the 'extreme fatigue list' they are not given this option. If they are on this list, then the Major League club can hold them out of the Dominican Winter Baseball League. And in many cases, the clubs choose to use this option. It is not a good thing for the LIDOM because they lose players and have to draw from even lower levels of professional ball.
Dominican pitcher Ivan Nova is on the 'extreme fatigue list,'
photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

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