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MLB trade rumors and news: Labor talks get heated; A’s cut pay for scouts, minor leaguers

In a season where a pandemic has wiped out at least a chunk of the MLB schedule, financial disagreements could ultimately prevent any baseball from being played.

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The MLB Daily Dish is a daily feature we’re running here at MLBDD that rounds up roster-impacting news, rumors, and analysis. Have feedback or have something that should be the shared? Hit us up at @mlbdailydish on Twitter or @MLBDailyDish on Instagram.

  • It had been expected for a couple weeks now that players would react negatively to the financial proposal that owners submitted to them for a shortened 2020 season. While the league veered away from its initial plan of asking the union to submit to a 50-50 revenue split, the players were nevertheless “very disappointed” by the owners’ initial proposal, which featured a tiered paycut system with the highest-paid players losing the largest percentages of their pro-rated salaries. While there’s still a decent chance that owners and players will put some of their pride aside and compromise so that a 2020 season can be played, things certainly haven’t started off on the right foot.
  • The Athletics spent all day Tuesday making news that sparked outrage throughout the baseball community. Early in the day, it was revealed that they’d utilize their scouts’ expertise through the MLB Draft, then furlough some of them through the end of the season. Later in the day, in an exponentially more controversial decision, the team informed its minor leaguers that it will stop paying them the $400 weekly stipend they’d been receiving during the coronavirus shutdown at the end of May. Things are looking bad to say the least in Oakland right now, and they only figure to get worse if there’s no 2020 season.
  • The 2020 MLB Draft is just a couple of weeks away and we have already begun to preview the coming draft class. Our own Patrick Karraker took a look at the 2020 MLB Draft class and ranked the top 10 college players available. Given the unique dynamics of this draft, we can expect to see a lot of college players to have their names called within the first five rounds.
  • The Blue Jays have guaranteed their employees that there will be no layoffs or furloughs for the the remaining duration of the shutdown (or, perhaps lack thereof a season), reports John Lott of The Athletic. The team will pay all salaries through October 1st, and has found creative ways to utilize staff that otherwise would be left out of particular roles. Perhaps the coolest thing they’re doing is bringing in minor league coaches and staff to be a part of this year’s draft process. Good for you, Toronto.
  • The league and the MLB Players Association have not been on the same page about much over the last few years, which has led to a lot of folks thinking that the next CBA negotiation could turn into a work stoppage. This has also spilled into the negotiations regarding the attempts to try and play the 2020 season with lots of leaks and statements to the media slinging mud at each other. However, one thing that does seem to be making some level of progress is the health/hygiene standards discussion, as the players responded to the league’s proposal on the matter with thoughts and counter-proposals of their own. That on top of the news that it sounds like the league is going to share some financial info with the MLBPA in order to get on the same page with the players financially gives a small amount of hope, at least.
  • Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has parted ways with his agent, Brodie Scoffield of Klutch Sports, as MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported last week. The reason for the move, according to a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal: Bregman was disgusted by the idea of being repped by the same agency that reps LeBron James, who criticized the Astros on Twitter in February after MLB handed down discipline for their sign-stealing scandal and is developing a docuseries on the scandal, entitled “Sign Language,” through his Uninterrupted production company. Though the spotlight has been taken off the Astros due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this still doesn’t seem like news that will help Bregman’s rapidly deteriorating reputation.
  • Major League Baseball is projecting a loss of $4 billion in free cash flow due to game played in front of empty seats during the proposed 82-game season, The Associated Press is reporting. The 12-page document from the commissioner’s office laid out the exact numbers of what the league will lose out of, averaging that it will cost $640k a game in losses. Each team would face at least $84M in loses, a figure dependent on the franchise’s projected earning pre-interest, taxes, etc. In contrast, the MLBPA is claiming that these losses aren’t are stark as owners are claiming. Now, they’re seeking further documentation of where these facts and figures came from. More on this story from both sides as it develops.
  • While being a part of a global historical event that no one asked for has changed our daily lives in various ways, Matt Harvey has turned this tremendous negative into a positive. The Dark Knight has been throwing bullpen sessions one or two times a week in the hopes of earning a contract once the season starts up, reports Dan Martin of the New York Post. After playing for the Angels last season on a one year, $11M contract, Harvey lacked the spark he’d shown with the Reds the season before and threw for a 7.09 ERA and 6.35 FIP. But everyone loves a comeback story, and nothing says “perfect set up for a movie starring Matt Damon” than the former Mets ace revitalizing his career after a fall from grace and months spent in isolation, meditation and looking back at his life. I want a royalty fee, btw. Let’s not forget, Harvey isn’t just battling back from bad outings — he also previously underwent Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery.
  • The latest sports event casualty from the COVID-19 outbreak is the World Baseball Classic,as it was announced that the international event has been pushed back until at least 2023. This is a real shame as not only is the WBC a great showcase of baseball on a global stage, but this also means we will have to wait for some of the more raucous crowds and epic bat flips you will ever see.
  • It turns out that the infamous Friday afternoon news dump doesn’t work quite as well when most of the country is stuck at home. MLB’s decision to shorten the 2020 draft has already been widely panned and could have major negative ramifications for both the short and long term.
  • MLB and its umpires have agreed on working terms for the 2020 season, after what sounds like one of the most unbearable Zoom calls ever. So while the umpires have agreed not to file a grievance against Major League Baseball for the hold up in cash flow, it’s their money and they need it now. (Maybe they should give 877-CASH-NOW a shot?)
  • Indians reliever Emmanuel Clase has been suspended for 80 games due to a violation against MLB’s PED policy. Cleveland acquired him in the marquee trade in December (we were so young then) that sent Corey Kluber to the Rangers. Unlike those of AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, this suspension won’t begin until the season does. I guess cheating is bad unless you do it using an intricate system of sign stealing and electronics, then a pandemic is allowed to completely wipe away your blame. Who knew.
  • One subject that had kind of gotten overshadowed given the state of the world was whether or not the Hall of Fame inductions of Derek Jeter and Larry Walker (plus Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller) were going to happen as scheduled or in a different form. Well, the Hall made their decision and their inductions will be postponed until 2021 with this year’s elected members being enshrined alongside next year’s class. Just a dagger in the side of those New York voters who tried to make Jeter be in a HOF class by himself.
  • Many a moon ago (so, like, a few months ago) a rumor swirled around that the San Francisco Giants had heightened interest in former Dodgers outfielder and current national treasure Yasiel Puig. Well, in our wildest baseball dreams it appears that may be coming to fruition now. Cuban baseball writer Francys Romero reported that a deal with the Giants is almost done, though manager Gabe Kapler and president Farhan Zaidi have thrown cold water on the rumor.
  • We have been waiting a long time to see the results of MLB’s investigation into the Red Soxmainly because that investigation (regardless of the results) has been the only holdup in seeing what punishment Alex Cora was going to receive for his misdeeds with the Astros. Well, we got our answer last week, as Cora received just a one year ban and Boston additionally lost a 2nd round pick and had a replay operator get a one year timeout as a well. To say that that punishment is underwhelming is a pretty big understatement.
  • MLB and Minor League Baseball are reportedly close to an agreement that would cause 42 minor-league teams to lose their big-league affiliations. While there are perhaps a few positives to be taken from this deal — every club will have the same number of minor-league affiliates, travel will be more efficient, and minor-leaguers will get paid more — it’s extremely rough news for employees and fans in the affected markets and the players whose dreams will be crushed as more than 1,000 jobs are eliminated.
  • While it is probably safe to say that all of the MLB players and executives are going to be just fine financially despite the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the sport, the same couldn’t be said about the hourly and seasonal employees who were relying on games to be played to provide for themselves and their families. That is why it has been heartening to see stories that more and more teams are committing to pay these employees through at least the first few months of the season if not longer despite the fact that no games are being played.
  • After undergoing Tommy John surgery last September, Adam Warren’s baseball suitors weren’t exactly beating down his door for a contract. However, he was able to snag a deal with a team he’s already very familiar with: the Yankees. The reliever has worked out a two-year minor league contract with the club, reports George A. King III of the New York Post. He would already be spending 2020 recovering from surgery, so the added time given the current situation only strengthens his case for a good comeback in 2021.
  • Pirates reliever Nick Burdi could be poised for a comeback if this season ever kicks off, Mike Perzak of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Burdi suffered a devastating injury mid-game last April when, immediately after delivering a pitch, he collapsed to the mound in pain. An MRI determined the pitcher had strains in his bicep tendon and flexor and eventually needed surgery for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. As Perzak reports, the 27-year old’s fastball has come back with a vengeance, and he could be a solid anchor for Pittsburgh’s bullpen if the season begins any time soon. While his health is a delicate thing, it’s unclear yet if this rehabbed success could linger into 2021 if we don’t see baseball this year.
  • Need some additional drama to add to this pandemic situation? According to a report from Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, three minority owners of the Diamondbacks have joined forces to sue Ken Kendrick, the team’s managing general partner. The suit stems from a letter Kendrick sent owners that instructed anyone with less than one percent of the team either increase their shares of the franchise or sell them back to the team at a price that will be determined by an appraiser. While Kendrick feels this ultimatum was fair and square, this trio of owners are saying this act of backing them into the corner was illegal. Cue soap opera music.
  • There is a lot of potential weirdness surrounding the current COVID-19 situation and what the loss of regular season games or even the whole season could mean for various players and team employees. However, one such area of weirdness has already been ironed out as it has been reported that even if the 2020 season doesn’t happen, the punishments handed down to the Astros’ Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch will be considered served. This was likely to be a necessary move given how the league is planning on handling MLB service time, even though it doesn’t necessarily feel great.