Day Two of the MLB Draft begins later today (4pm CT), and we’ll cover it live. We’ll also have more on the Cubs’ first round pick – whom they called “literally” their best-case scenario – as the day goes on. For the Bullets, though, I’ll separate out draft stuff.
• As Rob Manfred confirmed last night during the draft (OK, but this doesn’t count as a draft comment!), there is going to be baseball this year. As expected, it’s either the players agree to a deal that the owners like, or the league will simply unilaterally impose a 50-ish game season with prorated pay, and it will absorb all the consequences that flow from that.
• To that end, Jayson Stark wrote another plea. Maybe the worst version of driving off the cliff is no longer a risk (i.e., cancelling the whole season over money), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a cliff up ahead that MLB seems content to keep hurtling toward:
“BEING RIGHT is not as important as DOING WHAT’S RIGHT.”
My latest column: The shape of the cliff has changed. But my plea to baseball hasn’t.
Don’t drive off this cliff (2.0), either!https://t.co/NFhBBzzmJC
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 10, 2020
• Stark articulates in his own way the point we keep making: a unilaterally-imposed short season might save the owners $5 to $10 million per team this year, but the costs to the sport (and, in turn, those owners!) in the longer-term will be much more significant. Among the costs that impact revenues in the longer-term:
⇒ Much fewer games for the fans.
⇒ Much less money for the players.
⇒ Much less positive exposure for the sport.
⇒ Much more fan antipathy about the return.
⇒ Much more player hostility going forward.
⇒ Possibly fewer players actually participating.
⇒ Definitely fewer player-involved extra activities.
⇒ No expanded playoffs this or next year.
⇒ Likely even bigger fight about post-2021 CBA than already expected.
• And as Ken Rosenthal argues, it’s time for the owners to just finish this thing and agree to pay prorated salaries for a 72-game season (and get all the extras that they want):
My solution: 72-game season, players receive full pro-rated pay. Column: https://t.co/tC0swPbhSv
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 10, 2020
• Of course, we know that’s not actually going to happen. Even before Manfred last night suggested that a deal can’t be done without the players coming off full prorated demands, it was clear that the owners do not see any extra losses this year as an investment in the future. They just don’t want to lose money, and, perhaps to an even greater extent, they just don’t want to lose in a negotiation with the players.
• Knowing that this year’s draft will produce far fewer professionals, the NCAA is making allowances for college teams to carry more players:
BREAKING: The @NCAA Division I Committee for Legislative Relief has given D1 Baseball relief. Includes (for the 2020-21 academic year):
* 35-man roster cap lifted. No limitation.
* Annual counter has increased from 27 to 32
* The 25% scholarship minimum eliminated for a year.
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) June 10, 2020
• Meant to comment on this, because it’s fun to do so:
Um … 2001 Mariners? pic.twitter.com/H6rVjPzVLY
— Jeff Pearlman (@jeffpearlman) June 7, 2020
• So, it is just a simulation of classic teams, and you’re arguing with a computer-generated roll of the dice, but … the 2016 Cubs getting bounced right away by the 2011 Diamondbacks? A decent team that lost in the NLDS to the Brewers? Come on, man. The 2016 Cubs were not the best team of the last 30 years, but they were probably in the top 10, at least. It isn’t just that the Cubs broke the curse and all that – it was a club that was extremely stacked, top to bottom, and deep as all get-out.
• As for the winner, though … what’s wrong with the 2001 Mariners? That team was ridiculous. They had FIVE position players worth more than 4.5 WAR (Ichiro (6.0), Bret Boone (7.8), Mike Cameron (5.5), John Olerud (4.6), and Edgar Martinez (4.7)), with another five over 2.0. The pitching probably doesn’t look as impressive on paper, but you have to keep in mind that they got insane seasons from Freddy Garcia and Joel Pineiro that year, and had an absurd bullpen (Arthur Rhodes, Norm Charlton, Jeff Nelson, and Kaz Sasaki were all totally shutting guys down for nearly 70 innings apiece).
• The Red Sox responded to Torii Hunter’s story (about having a no-trade clause for Boston for his whole career) in a very strong way:
This is real. pic.twitter.com/gMp8MEPb46
— Red Sox (@RedSox) June 10, 2020
• Wild Sammy memory:
Sammy Sosa’s 62nd home run ball in 1998 sparked a full-on brawl on Waveland Avenue.
I talked with the two of the guys who were on opposite ends of a lawsuit over it.
— Kevin Kaduk (@KevinKaduk) June 11, 2020
• Pretty strong get in the 47th round:
In 1994 I was the 1,290th player drafted in the 47th by the Chicago Cubs. I ended up playing 16 years and 29th all time in MLB in games pitched!!! Never give up on your dreams!!! Good luck to everyone drafted. pic.twitter.com/f5WWfbpIHy
— Kyle Farnsworth (@24_7Farnsworth) June 11, 2020
• Christian Yelich did some good:
Recently, @ChristianYelich – @Brewers superstar, @MLB MVP and all-around amazing guy — donated 50 pairs of Beats headphones and six Nintendo Switches to kids at the MACC Fund Center at Children’s Wisconsin. On the field and off, Christian is a pro at making kids smile. THANK YOU! pic.twitter.com/LHDNMwmHXs
— Children's Wisconsin (@childrenswi) June 9, 2020