SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

BASEBALL HELD HOSTAGE -- DAY 155: TESTING THE DRAFT

     Top prospect Jason Varitek, who was selected by the Mariners
in last June's amateur draft, "took a step yesterday that could
lead to free agency for drafted amateur players."  Varitek signed
yesterday with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League, a
league not affiliated with MLB or the NAPBL. Bill Murray, Exec Dir
of Baseball Operations in the Commissioner's Office, said the
Mariners would still have the rights to him until next June, when
Varitek goes back into the draft.  But Varitek and his agent,
Scott Boras, contend that by signing a professional contract,
Varitek is no longer subject to the Mariners' rights or the next
"amateur" draft.  "In other words, the case is probably headed to
an arbitrator or judge" (Murray Chass, N.Y. TIMES, 1/13).  The
Saints are owned by Mike Veeck, son of the late Bill Veeck.  He
claims that Varitek does have the right to sign with another major
league organization (St. Paul PIONEER PRESS, 1/13).
     IN TOWN FOR THE O.J. TRIAL?  MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr's
tour stopped in L.A. yesterday where he met with about 175 players
and several agents.  The union has updated about 600 players on
the current tour.  There are three more scheduled stops:  Dallas,
Caracas and the Dominican Republic.  MLBPA General Counsel Gene
Orza said that the current signing freeze probably will stay in
place until there is a bargaining settlement (Ross Newhan, L.A.
TIMES, 1/13).
     TRICKLING REPLACEMENT PLANS:  ESPN's Keith Olbermann reported
that the owners have made the following decisions regarding the
use of replacements: 1) Rosters will be increased to 32, with 25
players eligible per game; 2) Players' minimum salary will be
$115,000, maximum salary $200,000, none of it guaranteed; 3)
Replacements will be guaranteed first class airfare, a $125 per
diem at spring training, a $10,000 bonus for being on the roster
opening day, and a $20,000 bonus for being on the roster in the
case of a settlement;  4) The highest a team payroll could be is
$7.5M ("SportsCenter," 1/12).  In Washington, Thomas Boswell asks,
"Can you annihilate an entire season -- or play a whole year with
replacement players -- without risking the health of your product?
In baseball's case, you'd be ruining two seasons" (WASHINGTON
POST, 1/13).
     IS MR. SELIG AWARE OF THIS?  Brewers GM Sal Bando said he is
not spending time trying to field a replacement team: "We'll sign
some (minor league) free agents, but only if we think they have a
chance to make the major-league club at some point.  We won't be
putting together a replacement team as such" (Tom Haudricourt,
MILWAUKEE SENTINEL, 1/13).
     TICKET PRICES:  Royals GM Herk Robinson said yesterday that a
ticket policy regarding the use of replacements will be announced
shortly.  It will likely be similar to policies announced by other
teams which is half-price.  Ticket prices would increase if any
Major Leaguers crossed the picket line (Jeffrey Flanagan, K.C.
STAR, 1/13).
     THE UMPS:  Negotiators for locked-out umpires and the owners
met in New York yesterday "without progress."  The two sides meet
again next Thursday in Philadelphia.  Umpires want a 60% raise
over four years (Rod Beeton, USA TODAY, 1/13).
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