WINTER MEETINGS NOTEBOOK

Major League Baseball moves to ban collisions at the plate

Updated: 2013-12-12T16:04:48Z

By BOB DUTTON

The Kansas City Star

— Jarring collisions at home plate could become a thing of the past if the players union signs off on a ban announced Wednesday by Major League Baseball at the Winter Meetings.

“The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination,” said New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the the Rules Committee.

“We’re going to do fairly extensive review of the types of plays that occur at home plate to determine which we’re going to find acceptable and which are going to be prohibited.”

Any rules change for the coming season must be approved by the players association, but Alderson characterized the ban as response to “a few issues” that surfaced in recent years.

“One is just the general occurrence of injuries from these incidents at home plate that affect players, both runners and catchers,” he said.

“And also kind of the general concern about concussions that exists not only in baseball but throughout professional sports and amateur sports today.”

Alderson said the intent is to draft a rule with two levels of punishment.

“One will be with respect to whether the runner is declared safe or out based on conduct,” he said. “So, for example, intentionally running over the catcher might result in an out call.

“I think that the enforcement will be on the field as well as subsequent consequences in the form of fines and suspensions and the like.”

Rule 5 Draft

The Royals have the 18th pick, and a roster spot available, for the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place Thursday morning and marks the closing event at the Winter Meetings.

General manager Dayton Moore indicated the Royals might pass.

“We’re picking lower,” he said. “We’ll look at that a little bit tonight, but…”

Players who have four or five years of professional service, depending on their age when they signed their first contract, are eligible for selection in the draft if not protected on a club’s 40-man roster.

Clubs pay $50,000 to select a player, who then must remain on their major-league roster for the entire next season or be offered back to their former club for $25,000.

Generally, there are about 15 players selected, but it’s rare for more than three or four to remain in the big leagues for the entire season. The whole process rarely takes more than 15 minutes.

Even so, an occasional gem surfaces.

The Royals plucked Joakim Soria, who became an All-Star closer, from San Diego in the 2006 draft. Other successes include Johan Santana (1999), Dan Uggla (2005) and Josh Hamilton (2006).

Mariners add two more

Seattle continued its offseason makeover by signing free-agent Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison from Miami in a trade for reliever Carter Capps.

Hart, 31, didn’t play last season after undergoing major surgery on both knees but received a one-year deal for a guaranteed $6 million with incentives capable of boosting its value to $13 million.

Injuries limited Morrison, 26, to 178 games over the last two seasons, and he became expendable earlier this week when the Marlins signed Garrett Jones to be their first baseman.

The Mariners are expected to formally announce their signing of free-agent second baseman Robinson Cano in a Thursday news conference in Seattle. He agreed last week to a 10-year deal for $240 million.

Colon to Mets

Another free-agent pitcher came off the board when the Mets reached agreement with Bartolo Colon on a two-year deal for $20 million.

Colon, 40, was 18-6 last season at Oakland with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts.

Etc.

• Former Royals reliever Tommy Hottovy, a graduate of Park Hill South and Wichita State, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs.

• Right-hander Ervin Santana, who became a free agent by turning down the Royals’ qualifying offer, is drawing interest from the Tigers, Mets and Diamondbacks.

• The Dodgers signed right-hander Edinson Volquez to a one-year deal for $5 million.

• Washington acquired right-handed reliever Jerry Blevins from Oakland in a trade for outfield prospect Billy Burns.

• Former Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez, who played last year for Seattle, is drawing interest from the Angels.

To reach Bob Dutton, send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

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