Crain's interviews STO's Indians sideline reporter. If you're looking for the podcast mentioned in the article I've also linked it above - it's highly recommend if you're a Cleveland sports fan (they do talk mostly football this time of year).
I had missed this last week, but it's still very much worth reading.
And yes, if you do the math, the last time it was this close was...1948. Sigh.
Both players involved in the Butler-Valencia fight (Billy Butler was released soon after the tussle) this past season are now gone.
The Mariners dealt RHP Paul Blackburn to the Athletics in the deal; Blackburn was drafted out of high school in 2012, and was traded to the Mariners in the Mike Montgomery deal. He profiles right now as a potential starter.
Seattle is going to use Valencia as a part-time first baseman and outfielder, which is a good fit for both the player and his new team. Valencia was not very good defensively at third base, and this way the Mariners will get his bat into the lineup without it costing them too many runs in the field.
As with most decisions in baseball, the move towards an international draft would be foremost a way for clubs to lower their costs. Yes, competitive balance is also a reason, but I don't think it's as much of a pressing concern like it was when the US draft was implemented in 1965.
One thing I look at when weighing the pluses and minuses of an international draft is what kind of leverage a 16-18-year-old player from Latin America would have under that kind of system. For a top-flight US or Canadian high school player, they can drive up their signing bonus by threatening to attend college, but many Dominican or especially Venezuelan players don't have that kind of leverage. If the signing bonuses are set in stone, that does take care of that concern somewhat, but even so, I think Latin American players are going to get lower bonuses under the new system than the old (even with the buscones).
Laurilia notes that Andrew Benintendi will be the player most asked about when clubs talk trade with the Red Sox this winter. With the free agent class in general very poor (and especially in starting pitching), I think we'll see a lot more high-profile young players like Benintendi traded this winter than you'd normally see.