Lester and Ross Working Together, Labor Beef Overheated, Mookie Lessons, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Lester and Ross Working Together, Labor Beef Overheated, Mookie Lessons, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

There is certainly a lot of pageantry at NBA games, eh? I hadn’t been to an NBA game since I was a little kid, so I really didn’t remember/know all the ancillary stuff that goes on. I guess it mostly works, and I enjoyed the guy climbing on top of a tower of like 10 chairs at halftime. It’s just such a stark, stark difference from Wrigley Field – even the current, video-boarded incarnation of Wrigley Field. So, yeah, don’t worry old schoolers: Wrigley is still a uniquely pastoral experience.

  • I didn’t have *quite* the strong response to the NBC report about labor beef that some others had, but it definitely was discouraging to learn that the league – despite a willingness to re-open the CBA mid-term – was not going to negotiate on major financial issues in order to try to get a deal done in advance of the current deal’s expiration after 2021. To that end, the Commissioner responded to the NBC report to try to assuage some of the concerns about what he was really saying to the union. Among his comments explaining what happened:

“We invited the MLBPA to come forward with suggestions about midterm modifications that might address some of their concerns. In the meeting, Mr. Meyer suggested a series of changes that would turn the Basic Agreement back 50 years. I mean, essentially give back to the union everything we’ve achieved over the last few decades. I asked, in response to his suggestion, what was in that deal for the clubs? He said, ‘Labor peace.’ The way the conversation actually went is I said to him, ‘Labor peace is a mutual benefit. It’s not something that you trade economics against. It is a mutual benefit it keeps the players working and getting paid and it keeps our business forward.’ That’s how the conversation actually went.”

  • In other words, from the league’s perspective, all they said was that they weren’t going to agree – mid-CBA – to a series of substantial financial changes SOLELY in exchange for getting a deal done in advance of a strike/lockout. Which … yeah, obviously? That’s pretty much exactly how a negotiation is supposed to go, which hints at this being a total non-story in the first place.
  • … HOWEVA, I actually do think there’s still a really significant story under the surface here, and it’s this: the players, after getting whooped in the last CBA negotiations, are taking a very aggressive stance in early negotiations with the league on financial issues. It’s the position they absolutely must take if they don’t want to get owned again, but it’s also a position that is going to put a work stoppage very much in the realm of realistic. My hope all along has been that the owners will realize that obliterating the players in CBA negotiations, as they have the last two times, is not actually good for the long-term health of the sport (which, in turn, is not good for their bottom line if they’re willing to look at something longer than a 10-year time horizon). Some of the biggest needs: a nearly guaranteed 50/50 split in revenue, earlier free agency and/or arbitration to distribute more of that revenue to younger players, and some kind of plan to attack tanking. Take care of those three things in a very effective way, and, as an outside observer who wants the sport to be healthy for decades to come, I’d be pleased.
  • Ah, old friends:

  • Lester spoke about his old buddy/new boss:

  • And that’s the thing you have to remember about these guys’ relationship: it was *always* about Ross pushing Lester, and Lester pushing himself and those around him. Even as they are friends, and even as Lester is the high-paid player, it feels like they’re going to be able to work together to help push other players. In other words, their previous relationship might not only not be a hindrance to Ross’s leadership, it might actually serve to create a combined force of positive redassness.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

  • It just feels like the Red Sox have found the market for Mookie Betts lacking the dramatic impact they were hoping (i.e., move the $28ish million in salary and also net huge prospects), but they also know they can’t re-sign him long-term:

  • I think there’s arguably a warning there for the Cubs on Kris Bryant (assuming he does not win his grievance, and is still under control for two more years) – either move him now, extend him now, or resign yourself to the likely reality that you’re simply going to have to ride out the two years and then let him walk. I suppose the only other alternative, and we’ll see how this plays for the Red Sox, is that you might find a good deal at the Trade Deadline in that final year of control, but you’d only consider that if you’re out of contention that year – not exactly something we want to see the Cubs planning for 2021.
  • Tis the season for lots of sales, and MLB Shop is flash-sale’ing today through midnight – 30% off all orders with the code POPUP.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.