A late night tweet from the official Washington Emergency Department Twitter account sure hits the nail on the head: “40 years ago today, people pushed the state to reopen areas around Mt. St. Helens citing tourism & the economy against advice of scientists. Five days later, the volcano erupted.”
I want everything to re-open the world as much as the next guy, but an extra week now might save you a month later. Let’s not be short-sighted, because we’re bored of staying at home. Let’s be adults.
The Furloughs Begin
Yesterday, Brett discussed the Mariners’ plan to cut 20% of pay for all employees making over $60,000 from June 1st through October 31st, in exchange for no layoffs or furloughs through at least that long. Privately, I’ve heard other organizations intend to make similar concessions to executive pay to keep their workers employed.
But not all workers are lucky enough to be employed by those organizations:
About 40 percent of #Marlins baseball operations employees will be furloughed June 1, sources tell The Athletic. Total expected to be between 90 and 100. Team paying employees through May, expects to cover health benefits of those furloughed through October. Evaluating monthly.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 13, 2020
Other clubs in addition to #Marlins also expected to furlough significant numbers of employees, effective June 1.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) May 13, 2020
We could dump on the Marlins for this decision (because of course it’s them), but I’d rather focus on the sadness of our shared reality and the 90-100 workers that’ll be impacted. And since the Marlins are decidedly not the only franchise with relatively low financial resources compared to their peers, this won’t be the end of it. Very bad news.
Blake Snell Won’t Play for Reduced Pay
In a plan approved by owners on Monday, the league is proposing a 50-50 revenue split with the players this season, which has been met by plenty of resistance throughout the union.
Blake Snell is one of those players, and while his comments are particularly assertive and mostly understandable, I’m not sure they actually help his cause:
“Y’all gotta understand, man, for me to go — for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof.”
No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?
“Bro, I’m risking my life,” Snell said. “What do you mean it should not be a thing? It should 100% be a thing. If I’m gonna play, I should be getting the money I signed to be getting paid. I should not be getting half of what I’m getting paid because the season’s cut in half, on top of a 33% cut of the half that’s already there — so I’m really getting, like, 25%.”
“On top of that, it’s getting taxed. So imagine how much I’m actually making to play, you know what I’m saying?”
Listen, I think the players deserve a bigger piece of the pie than a 50/50 split *and* I think the owners are being incredibly short-sighted on the trade-off between taking losses this year while ensuring the long-term health of the sport, particularly when they’re not the ones taking as much risk.
But I don’t think Snell’s delivery here will help the otherwise unfair narrative that the players are being greedy. It simply comes off as incredibly tone deaf when there are dozens of other workers desperate to go back to work for FAR less than he stands to make and with at least as much risk (to say nothing of the hundreds of minor leaguers who’d take his starts in a heartbeat). So as a pragmatist who wants baseball to return and knows it never will without players being fairly compensated for the immense amount of risk they are assuming, I don’t think this helps.
Former Players Paid the Most
In a press conference on August 10th, 2016, Prince Fielder announced that he would not be able to continue playing baseball due to his injuries. But given the nature of the CBA and his contract, he is still being paid out for the nine-year, $214M contract he signed back in 2012.
Ken Rosenthal points out that Fielder (and other players like him) is among a small handful of players who are likely to receive their full salary this season: “The amount Fielder receives might decrease if the parties reach a subsequent deal to reduce the pay of players who were released before the COVID-19 pandemic, but such an adjustment is unlikely, sources say. The players are no longer on 40-man rosters, and the sport’s collective-bargaining agreement seemingly protects the guarantees in their contracts.”
Other players in the same boat include Wei-Yin Chen ($22M, Marlins), Zack Cozart ($12.2M, Giants), Troy Tulowitzki ($18M, Blue Jays), and David Wright ($12M, Mets). Though, it’s important to note that a lot of this money is ultimately covered by insurance.
The Injured Player Advantage
I keep thinking about things like this, as it pertains to something of an unfortunate advantage for teams in an abbreviated, late-start season:
Cashman said he didn't think Aaron Judge (cracked right rib) would be fully healthy and back until the field until "summertime."— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) May 14, 2020
Obviously, EVERYONE would prefer full, regular seasons, but if we don’t start until July or later, players like Judge will end up playing close to 100% of the games the team does play, even if that ends up being half as many games in a regular season. So … who’s ready for a full season of Brandon Morrow!?
New Draft Rules
There are new rules for the upcoming MLB Draft, which will be only five rounds long, and Kiley McDaniel does a great job of breaking down the implications and strategy adjustments at ESPN:
New article! I broke down what the new draft rules mean for 1) strategies clubs/players will use in this draft 2) future CBA negotiations 3) a nutty draft strategy that I confirmed multiple teams have seriously discussed https://t.co/S0YOW3yFvO— Kiley McDaniel (@kileymcd) May 13, 2020
Among the highlights, teams are expected to lean toward college players and under-slot bonuses early in the draft, though some are even expected to offer something well under slot with the expectation that the player will either (1) accept, giving the team a huge bargain or (2) decline, giving the team a compensation pick of equal value in 2021.
It all sounds quite terrible.
How About Some Fun:
Yo … dummies … the answer is spider:
I’ve been having a lot of fun with these “Guess the Year” challenges based on the All-Stars:
Can you guess the MLB season by the AL All Stars?— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 14, 2020
(Answer in bio) pic.twitter.com/GMYbNxqYDc
And finally, Armando Galarraga wants his near-Perfect Game turned into an actual Perfect Game, officially:
Ten Years Later: Galarraga Wants the Most Heartbreaking Call in MLB History Reversed … He Wants His Perfect Gamehttps://t.co/00fUEfIo9L— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) May 13, 2020