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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

MLB union cuts off talks as hopes for an agreement reach an apparent end

“ A long, contentious negotiation between Major League Baseball and its players’ union over the economic terms of the 2020 season — marked by media leaks, recriminations and progress that was incremental at best — reached its apparent and inevitable endgame Saturday. With no deal, it appears the sport is headed toward a late-summer mini-season of around 50 games, assuming the novel coronavirus pandemic permits even that.
In a statement Saturday night, MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark indicated the players were rejecting the proposal MLB made Friday for a 72-game season, for which players would have been guaranteed 70 percent of their prorated salaries, and would make no counterproposal. In fact, Clark said, the ...

majorflaw Posted: June 16, 2020 at 12:04 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: 2020 season

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-16-2020

Washington Times, June 16, 1920:

About $200,000 worth of second baseman got a terrific bump on the head at the Polo Grounds yesterday afternoon, a bump which sent a shiver down the back of Branch Rickey, who only several hours previously again had declined an offer for the player from the New York club….[Rogers Hornsby] was laid out on the greensward for about five minutes and then left the game. Blood was trickling out of both his ears, and it is likely that the star will be forced to take a little vacation.

The accident to Hornsby happened in the seventh inning rally of the Giants. With Young on first, Kauff hit sharply to Lavan, who thought that he might get the Giant at first. Lavan started to throw to first and then appeared to change ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 16, 2020 at 10:29 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: beaning, doc lavan, dugout, history

In Latin America, big league clubs are exploiting prospects as young as 12, whistleblower told feds

The FBI declined to answer questions for this story. “Unfortunately, regarding your request we cannot confirm or deny the existence of an investigation,” FBI Special Agent Michael Leverock wrote in an email.

The wild-west culture that has defined Dominican baseball — steroids and performance-enhancing drugs obtained legally, age and ID fraud, kickback scandals involving team scouts — has plagued MLB for years, but the issue of underage signings has intensified in recent months in part because the commissioner’s office has signaled that it won’t enforce its rules prohibiting these backdoor agreements, according to multiple baseball officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are involved in the transactions. ...Read More...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 16, 2020 at 10:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: international signings

Monday, June 15, 2020

International Signing Period Pushed To January

The signing period for international free agents typically begins July 2, but that won’t be the case this summer. Rather, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America and J.J. Cooper of BA, it will open Jan. 15, 2021, and conclude Dec. 15, 2021. A delayed signing period looked like the probable outcome when the owners and players reached an agreement on a potential season in March. It’s largely a cost-cutting measure by teams, whose finances will take a hit during a shortened or canceled season with few to no fans in the stands. And the likelihood is that it won’t be the only signing period pushed back, per Cooper, who writes that the 2021-22 version may not begin until Jan. 15, 2022.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 11:09 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: international signings

Several Major League Baseball players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19

Major League Baseball informed the players union Monday that several major-league players and coaches have tested positive for COVID-19, believing it might be unsafe to start the season early even if they soon reach an agreement in their labor dispute.

The news of the positive tests, and fear of a second wave of the virus wiping out the postseason, MLB deputy commissioner Dan Halem says, is the primary reason they are adamant about finishing the regular season on Sept. 27.

He vigorously denies the union’s assertion that MLB is stalling to play as few regular-season games as possible to save money.

“Your recent letters have all expressed the concern, in one form or another, that players are being ‘asked to take on extraordinary ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 10:41 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred now less confident about 2020 season

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN on Monday he’s “not confident” there will be a 2020 baseball season and that “as long as there’s no dialogue” with the MLB Players Association, “that real risk is going to continue.”

In a conversation with Mike Greenberg for ESPN’s “The Return of Sports” special, Manfred walked back comments made to ESPN last week, when he said “unequivocally we are going to play Major League Baseball this year” and pegged the likelihood at “100%.”

“I’m not confident. I think there’s real risk; and as long as there’s no dialogue, that real risk is gonna continue,” Manfred said when asked if he was confident there would be a season.

...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 05:02 PM | 86 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

MLB Teams Get Creative With College Money To Lure UDFAs

One particularly intriguing avenue they’ve explored is offering generous packages of money for college players. Such packages are allowed because they are not paid out in actual cash, but in agreements to be paid later.

For example, a team could offer a college junior to pay for the value of his senior year at school. If they wanted to go a step further, they could offer the equivalent value of two years at a high-end graduate school.

Once again, though, that number is only a value and not actual cash. So, if the player were a college junior signed out of, say, Tennessee, he could ask for a package that would pay him the value of his senior year at Vanderbilt (a more expensive scholarship elsewhere), and then two more years at graduate ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 02:43 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: undrafted free agents

Will there be baseball this year or not? Jeff Passan breaks down MLB’s ugly labor fight

First: Some owners are incensed at the hard-line stance the players have taken regarding salaries, according to sources. Never mind that owners have taken every bit as hard-line positions and that their incremental bargaining did as much to calcify the union’s position as anything the players themselves did. Owners are mad, and Manfred works for them, so if their support for a season wanes, that adds a not-insignificant layer of potential peril.

Second: If the league abides by the March agreement, setting a schedule isn’t as easy as just presenting one to players. The agreement calls for the parties to meet in good faith to discuss a number of issues—including “the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators,” a key ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 11:09 AM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: labor relations

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-15-2020

Toledo News-Bee, June 15, 1920:

Lefty Kime, Ohio State University’s crack southpaw, sprung something new on the crowd at Redland Field last week while pitching his team to victory over the University of Cincinnati.

Kime had a valet who rubbed him dry of perspiration whenever he became too warm. The valet didn’t attend to his duties on the bench, but right out in the middle of the field in full view of everyone.

Kime’s battery mate, Iolas Huffman, was not near so particular. When Huffman became wet with perspiration he took off his baseball shirt and attempted to catch in his undershirt. Captain Brockman, of U.C., protested, and the umpire made Huffman put on a full uniform.

Jeeves, come to the mound and wipe my brow.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 15, 2020 at 10:22 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Former Jets QB Christian Hackenberg attempting comeback as pitcher

The former New York Jets draft pick, who throws right-handed, reportedly has a 90 mph fastball. He’s working himself into shape and making progress, according to his agent, Noel LaMontagne.

“He isn’t rushing anything and is being smart about not putting his health in a bad situation,” LaMontagne said in an email to ESPN. “He’s young, has the work ethic, a ton of natural arm talent, plenty of athleticism and the focus it takes to put himself in a position to have a chance.”

Before landing a football scholarship as one of the nation’s most coveted recruits, Hackenberg played baseball at the Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia. He pitched mainly in relief, showing a live but erratic arm—a lot like his quarterback play.

...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 14, 2020 at 10:48 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: nfl

Saturday, June 13, 2020

MLB lands billion-dollar deal with Turner Sports to broadcast playoffs

While MLB and the Players Association squabble over money and the 2020 season, the league has consummated a new billion-dollar deal with Turner Sports to keep a playoff package that includes one of the league championship series on the network, The Post has learned.

The exact new contract terms are not yet known, but a substantial increase from the $350 million that Turner had been paying is expected, according to sources. The length of the new contract is not yet known.

MLB and Turner Sports declined comment.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2020 at 03:32 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: tv deals

Judge unseals letter from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to Yankees regarding sign-stealing, per report

Major League Baseball and the Players Association may be continuing their back-and-forth regarding a potentially modified season in light of the spread of the novel coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing else interesting going on in the sport. For instance, consider that on Friday U.S. District Court judge Jed S. Rakoff ordered that a letter sent from commissioner Rob Manfred to the New York Yankees concerning a 2017 investigation into sign-stealing be unsealed, according to Brendan Kuty of

Rakoff has given the Yankees and MLB until Monday at noon to submit a version of the letter that is “minimally redacted” to protect “privacy interests” of the individuals involved. The Yankees, predictably, are not pleased with the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2020 at 02:16 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: sign-stealing, yankees

Friday, June 12, 2020

Player and MLB pitching coach tested positive for coronavirus

Two people involved in the game — one described as a major league pitching coach and one a 40-man roster player — have contracted COVID-19, multiple sources told The Post.

No one would name the people who contracted the virus. But those aware of the situation say the pitching coach had the virus weeks ago and is now recovered. The 40-man roster player was described as having contracted the virus more recently, but with the belief that he has not infected anyone else involved in the game.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 11:28 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

As Money Squabbles Delay M.L.B., Many Workers ‘Just Get Steam-Rolled’

David Carter, a professor of sports business at U.S.C.’s Marshall School of Business, said that while owners are indeed wealthy, they “aren’t necessarily liquid the way you or I might think a billionaire is.” Many owners are less concerned about yearly losses than they are with growing their team’s valuations so that they can net large profits from a later sale.

Fewer workers are needed with no games happening, of course, but Carter argued that owners — and major-league players — are not sympathetic figures in the current economic climate, with more than 20 million people unemployed in the United States.

“That’s probably been the single area where there’s been bad public relations, bad messaging and ownership of the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 04:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers

MLB Instructs Teams To Find Taxi Squad Sites Ahead Of Potential Season

As part of the negotiations, the sides have discussed expanding major league rosters and clubs by having a “taxi squad” of 20-25 players in reserve. With the minor league season in doubt, the taxi squad would provide an outlet for top prospects to continue playing while giving MLB teams a source to call players up from during the season.

In an indication that the taxi squad setup is the likely outcome, multiple officials told Baseball America this week that MLB teams have been instructed to find a site for their taxi squads to play within 100 miles of their MLB stadium.

It is expected that those workouts will not be full games. Without an opposing team to play, there likely will not be enough players for taxi squads to play full ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 02:53 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

FiveThirtyEight: Do Baseball’s Labor Fights Drive Fans Away?

The ramifications were more severe for the 1994-95 strike, which pushed back the start of the 1995 season by 23 days. Before the strike, the 1994 season had set an attendance record of 31,256 fans per game. That plummeted by 20 percent in 1995, and though attendance increased by 6 percent in the 1996 season — and grew year-over-year in four of the five subsequent seasons — 1996’s numbers were still 15.2 percent below that 1994 high-water mark, which would not be eclipsed until 2006. But despite that, attendance had rebounded to levels from earlier in the decade, and 1997 — the year before Sosa and McGwire gave baseball their great home run chase1 — saw the third-highest average on record at that time.

And though television ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 02:47 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: fivethirtyeight, labor

Sources: MLB owners expected to offer 70-75 games in proposal

Major League Baseball’s owners are expected to send a new proposal to the players’ union on Friday that includes a 2020 season lasting between 70 and 75 games, sources told ESPN’s Karl Ravech.

The owners’ proposal would include a payment of somewhere between 80% and 85% of the players’ prorated salary, which is a slight increase from the owners’ last offer. This proposal also includes expanded playoffs and a share of the playoff pool for players.

This marks the third exchange of proposals between the two sides this week.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 12:10 PM | 70 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-12-2020

Chicago Eagle, June 12, 1920:

The distinction of being the first man in organized ball to hit one of those ninth-inning homers that count whether needed or not goes to Joe Mathes, manager of the Beaumont Texas League team. In the game of May 2, last half of the ninth and the score a tie, one man on base, Mathes hit the ball over the fence. Joe solemnly made the circuit and the boys in the press box tabbed the final count as 8 to 6. Fool rule, say most of the critics.

Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 12, 2020 at 10:26 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Alex Cora: Astros’ sign-stealing wasn’t two-man show

“There has been a narrative out there of what happened. Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not,” he said. “Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros’ organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.”

He added: “If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 05:04 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

ESPN ‘30 for 30’ Documentary ‘Long Gone Summer’ Tardy on the Fastball

The film’s running time is one hour and 43 minutes, but it’s a full hour and a half before performance enhancing drugs are even mentioned. Apparently, Schnack isn’t interested in telling the complete story of the ‘98 home run chase, opting instead to revisit the time when most of us experienced ignorant bliss about the situation.

Yes, we could all use a feel-good story right now. Since February, the country has endured a stock market crash on par with 1929, a pandemic like 1918, unemployment reminiscent of 1933 and civil unrest rivaling 1968. But two baseball players turning their bodies into human science projects and tarnishing the integrity of the game isn’t it. With extensive interviews of both McGwire and Sosa, this is really just a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 03:11 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: 30 for 30, mark mcgwire, peds, sammy sosa

How racial bias can seep into baseball scouting reports

Journalist and data-science consultant Rob Arthur reviewed 70,000 Cincinnati Reds scouting reports from 1991-2003. He found that terms employed by scouts revealed more frequent applications of positive physical attributes (“large,” “strong,” “good build”) to white players than Black players, who were more likely to be described as “athletic” but also “weak.”

Leadership and competitiveness were more often associated with white players. Players of color were more often described as “raw” and “unpolished.”

“The disparate uses of these terms in a strong way suggests a racial bias,” Arthur said in an interview. “I think these differences are kind of a known quantity. Other analysts within front offices have ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 12:54 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: scouting

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-11-2020

New York Tribune, June 11, 1920:

It was a wild afternoon at Squire Ebbett’s ball park yesterday. The Dodgers lost the game to the St. Louis Cardinals by the score of 9 to 3 and Umpire Rigler almost lost his life. The Flatbush aggregation and the assembled multitude took violent exception to a decision at the plate in the seventh inning and, when the day’s proceedings had been brought to a close, the veteran arbiter had to be escorted off the field by a squad of police.

Pro tip: If you lose by a half-dozen runs, it probably isn’t the umpire’s fault. Even if he blew a call.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Manfred: “We’re Going To Play Baseball In 2020”

Major League Baseball is preparing yet another counter-offer to the Players Association after the MLBPA proposed an 89-game season with prorated salaries yesterday, commissioner Rob Manfred said minutes ago in an appearance on MLB Network (hat tip: Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times, on Twitter). More encouragingly, Manfred emphatically stated: “We’re going to play baseball in 2020 — 100 percent.” The commissioner’s preference remains for a negotiated agreement between the league and union, but Manfred does have the ability to implement a shorter season (at fully prorated salaries) under the standing March agreement.

The details of the forthcoming proposal will be telling. Manfred acknowledged that it’ll be in the “players’ ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: rob manfred

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

2020 MLB draft: Everything you need to know on draft day

On to the fun stuff. Whom will the Tigers take with the first pick?

Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson is the odds-on favorite. He led the nation with 25 home runs as a freshman, followed that with 23 as a sophomore and was off to a great start in 2020, hitting .340/.598/.780. If he goes No. 1, he will be just the second or third first baseman to go first overall, depending on how you slice things, and the first right-handed-hitting first baseman. The Marlins selected Adrian Gonzalez first overall in 2000—current Tigers general manager Al Avila was then the scouting director for the Marlins—and the Yankees selected Ron Blomberg first in 1967, though he spent most of his time in the minors and his first season in the majors as ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 06:21 PM | 54 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

NCAA Ruling Gives Baseball Teams More Flexibility In Roster Construction

The rule changes were championed by the American Baseball Coaches Association and will give teams a little bit more flexibility for their rosters next year. The three-pronged changes are

to eliminate the 35-man cap on rosters
to allow partial scholarships of less than 25 percent
to raise the maximum number of players who can be on scholarship from 27 to 32.
The SEC also offered up a proposal to increase the number of scholarships for next season from 11.7 to 13.7, but it was not approved by the committee.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 03:45 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball

Claudell Washington has died at 65: report

Claudell Washington, the former Yankee who hit the 10,000th home run in franchise history, died on Wednesday morning, according to a report from ESPN’s Howard Bryant. Washington was 65.

Washington, the two-time All-Star outfielder and World Series winner with the Oakland A’s as a rookie in 1974, played for the Yankees for four of his 17 big-league seasons. He played for the Bombers from 1986-1988 and then again to cap his career in 1990.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 12:58 PM | 91 comment(s)
  Beats: claudell washington, obituaries

BA: Explaining Why A Team Would Punt On The 2020 Draft, And Why It Doesn’t Make Sense

The 2021 draft is expected to be overstuffed. There will be a much better junior college class than normal because of high school players and Division I kickbacks who end up opting to head to junior college because it allows them to be draft eligible in one year (rather than the two or three years that is the case for D-I players). It’s also viewed as a very talented college crop that again is expected to have plenty of pitching.

And one could argue that it will be a more “normal” draft. If the 2021 season is played as usual, teams will have more data and more scouting looks than they had in the abbreviated 2020 spring season.

So arguably, a team punting on its 2020 first-round pick would have the ability to take better advantage ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 10:27 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Arizona Sports: D-backs owner Ken Kendrick: MLB has it wrong on revenue sharing

“Why is it that we are the only sport that doesn’t have revenue sharing? All of the other major sports have revenue sharing….....What would be happening right now — think about it — if this situation would have evolved and we had been in a revenue-sharing model? We would be acting as partners to get back together and get back on the field. The very lack of a revenue-sharing model puts us in an adversarial position when we really ought to be partners and advancing the game and building the revenues because all would win in those circumstances…...Our (players) union leadership takes the position that’s a non-starter,” Kendrick added. “We wouldn’t even be in a discussion right now if we had revenue sharing. It’s sad.”

...
Jack Sommers Posted: June 10, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: 2020 season, cba, mlb, mlbpa, revenue sharing

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-10-2020

Indiana Daily Times, June 10, 1920:

The jury in the trial of Lee Magee, former Cincinnati ball player, in his suit against the Chicago National league club for $9,500, returned a verdict for the defense in the United States district court [in Cincinnati] late Wednesday. Robert Alcorn, attorney for Magee, announced after the verdict had been rendered that the case would be appealed.
Jimmy Costello, a Boston poolroom proprietor, testified that Magee proposed to him to “toss” the game, and President John Heydler of the National league and President William Veeck of the Chicago Nationals stated on the witness stand that Magee had made a “confession” to them in which he said he desired to make a clean breast of the entire matter.

Meanwhile, ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 10, 2020 at 10:17 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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