Obviously it’s impossible to proceed with the morning Bullets like there isn’t so much going on in the world that transcends what we cover here, as I mentioned yesterday. But, here we are in any case. I will say that I’m disappointed Major League Baseball as an entity has not addressed the racial injustice that sparked this week’s sadness, anger, demonstrations, and conversations. For a sport that has historical roots in the integration process in this country, but has struggled with its own representation and access issues the last 30 years, I would have thought it would be among the first sports leagues to speak out. So far, silence.
• Bruce Levine reports that, in advance of any possible deal between the players and the owners (latest here), the Cubs have been checking in with local colleges and minor league teams about the possible use of their facilities for Spring Training Part Two in June. Curtis Granderson Stadium at UIC and North Park College come in for mention. More than most, Wrigley Field is not really set up to accommodate large groups of players training simultaneously, so getting some other places nearby lined up makes a lot of sense if you’re going to train in Chicago. That’s especially true when there will be social distancing considerations and a group that could be upwards of 50 players (up to 30 players might make the big league roster, and up to 20 players might be trained up as a taxi squad to fill in when there are needs/injuries/etc.).
• That shouldn’t be read as a sign that a deal will definitely get done, by the way. It’s just a proactive step to be ready.
• This raises a very interesting point about any stateside players that might look to the KBO (or NPB) as an option to compete for a job if the MLB/MiLB seasons do not proceed:
Spoke to a #KBO team official today who said this about bringing in a new foreign player. “The whole process would take at least a month from the time we sign a player to actually getting him on our roster”
Here are things to consider
-2 week quarantine
-game shape pic.twitter.com/p1EIV0ezWV
— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) June 1, 2020
• There are also limitations in each league on the total number of foreign players permitted per team. That is all to say, if a deal doesn’t get done to play in the States – or the virus ultimately prevents it – players won’t simply be able to say, “Ope, well I’ll go play in Asia,” even if they were talented enough to make those leagues.
• Derrek Lee was very good for the Cubs for a long time, but for one season in particular, he was a legend:
𝐉𝐮𝐧𝐞 𝟏, 𝟐𝟎𝟎𝟓
Derrek Lee went 5-5 against the Dodgers, with two line drives to LF, two line drives to RF, and his 17th home run of the season.
Lee finished third in MVP voting in ‘05. pic.twitter.com/R9k2mCLq0l
— This Day in Chicago Sports (@ChiSportsDay) June 1, 2020
• Lee finished behind Albert Pujols and Andruw Jones that year, and it’s hard to rip the voting too hard. Lee’s bat (170 wRC+) was far superior to Jones (134), but Jones (7.9) bested Lee in WAR (7.0) thanks to his super elite glovework in center. Pujols, who won the award, also topped Lee in WAR (7.7), but was slightly behind in wRC+ (167). My guess is if the Cubs didn’t suck butt as a team that year (4th in the NL Central, 21.0 games behind the Cardinals), Lee, who also won a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and led the league in batting average, slugging, and OPS, probably would’ve won the award.
• The Athletic reported that the Nationals were quietly cutting the minor league stipend from $400 per week to $300 per week, something that would – back of the napkin – save the organization about $80,000 per month. The big league players immediately responded:
Nationals players were upset about @TheAthletic report of MiLB pay cuts. So they're covering the $100/week out of pocket for each player that a billionaire ownership group took away
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 1, 2020
• Good on the Nationals players. Very, very shameful that it came to that, though.
The Nationals are indeed now reversing course and paying their minor league players, sources tell me and @EmilyCWaldon. Memo said "Upon further internal discussion,” the team decided to not cut salaries.
— Britt Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) June 1, 2020
• The draft is 9 days away:
1 year ago, Michael McAvene showed why he was the most electric pitcher in college baseball, cranking it up to 100 MPH for the save.
He would go on to be drafted by the Cubs in the 3rd round just 4 days later. https://t.co/HkuoSfst1c
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) May 31, 2020