■ An interesting detail in MLB.com's latest Draft Update, Clock ticking for teams to sign top picks:
There isn't the same rush to get this one done as it was recently ruled that Aaron Crow (and Tanner Scheppers) do not have to adhere to the Aug. 17 deadline and instead can wait until just before next year's Draft. Not saying it'll take that long, but it can.■ And in the Stupid MLB Tricks category: MLB announces exclusive deal with Topps (mlb.com)
In a move hoped to streamline and stimulate the trading-card market, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday an exclusive licensing arrangement with The Topps Company.
The multiyear deal, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, gives Topps exclusivity on MLB, Jewel Event and club trademarks, logos and other intellectual property for use on baseball cards, stickers and other product categories featuring MLB players.
By making the deal, MLB is expressing optimism in Topps' ability to appeal to a new generation of young collectors under the watch of Michael Eisner, the former president of the Angels, who acquired the cardmaker in 2007.
"Generations of baseball fans have grown more connected to the game through collecting baseball cards," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "We look forward to partnering with Topps to restore baseball cards as the game's premier collectable."
The exclusive arrangement ends MLB's 30-year relationship with Upper Deck, the other main player in the market -- which retains licensing rights from the MLB Players Association. That enables Upper Deck to continue producing cards with players' images -- but team logos and such are out.