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.
- MLB and its umpires have agreed on working terms for the 2020 season, after what sounds like 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?)
- It had appeared as though the MLBPA and the league were willing to play nice for the time-being when it came to the early negotiations for how to handle the delayed start of the 2020 season as well as potential contingencies in the event that the season didn’t happen at all. However, it appears that at least some of that goodwill has been used up as it was reported by The Athletic that the player’s association rejected the leagues proposal for the 2020 draft which would have made the draft 10 rounds and cut the bonus pool slots down for rounds 6-10.
- One of our favorite sports dudes and former head of this crazy site Chris Cotillo is doing some amazing stuff on Twitter to raise money for COVD-19 relief. If you love sports memorabilia and fighting the good fight, check out his daily auctions. He’s already hit a pretty impressive milestone.
23 items generously donated by @ryanraplee, @seanmcelroy985 and @Marc_Bertrand raised $2,800 for four different charities today.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) May 4, 2020
Campaign total: $49,816
- Cleveland reliever Emmanuel Clase has been suspended for 80 games due to a violation against MLB’s PED policy. Cleveland acquire him in the marquee trade in December (we were so young then) that sent Corey Kluber to the Rangers. Unlike that of AJ Hinch and Jeff Ludlow, 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 and they will be 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.
- There is more and more smoke that we could have baseball in 2020 after all as Bob Nightengale reported that there are preliminary plans for a season constructed around three, 10-team divisions that would start in late June but without fans at games. Its a start.
- With MLB setting May 1 as the initial date for teams to furlough employees or cut their pay, several lower-budget organizations are making some tough calls this week. The Pirates will suspend 401(k) contributions for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic with a stated goal of being able to pay those employees their full salaries, though some high-paid execs will take pay cuts.
- Ty Cobb, game-fixing, and the fascinating end to an iconic career .
- In other discouraging news, the Rays have furloughed some employees and reduced the pay of most others, while the Athletics are considering extensive layoffs, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Alex Coffey.
- One could be easily excused for being skeptical that a 2020 baseball season is ever going to happen due to the state of the world around us. It is hard to wrap your head around restarting any professional sports when you can’t even go out to eat or to see a movie right now. However, it appears that officials around the league do not share that skepticism as Jeff Passan reports that there is a growing sense that some version of the 2020 MLB season is going to happen even if the details have yet to be ironed out.
- What cause does MLB have for optimism?
- 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 Sox mainly 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.
- You won’t have to look hard to find strong feelings about Alex Rodriguez. From his repeated PED usage to the alleged artist rendering of him as a centaur that he had commissioned, ARod is nothing if not a controversial figure in the game of baseball who has been at least trying to rehab that image of late with his broadcast work. Now, it looks like he and his fiancee Jennifer Lopez are trying to gather together the funds and investors so that they can buy the Mets.
- 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.
- The recent agreement that MLB and the MLBPA reached regarding how the 2020 season would be handled in the wake of the pandemic that is sweeping across the globe gave some hope that the two sides could get past their numerous differences to make not only the 2020 season work, but also potentially avoid a work stoppage once the CBA expires. However, those hopes hit a pretty significant snag, as it is pretty clear from Ken Rosenthal’s reporting that the two sides have very different takes on whether or not the money that had been guaranteed to players in that agreement was still guaranteed if there were no fans in the stadiums when games resumed.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci outlines how sports could return this summer and someone give this man a raise immediately.
- Add “home improvement project” to Joe Kelly’s isolation check list. Watch here as the pitcher briefly forgets how throwing a baseball works, sub sequentially breaking one of his windows. At least he’s getting all the bad pitches out of his system?
- In what could be a positive sign for the chances of the 2020 MLB season taking place, Arizona governor Doug Ducey says he’s “open-minded” to the idea of hosting some or all MLB games at empty spring training ballparks in the Phoenix area, provided that it’s safe to do so.
- MLB has committed to paying league employees through at least the end of May, with Rob Manfred and other senior staff members taking major pay cuts for 2020.
- 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.
- Josh Hamilton’s fall from grace and subsequent redemption have been covered heavily over the years. His drug abuse and nearly leaving baseball altogether only to return and claim the AL MVP award and be one of the league’s more feared hitters was a lovely success story. However, since then, Hamilton has fallen on some other setbacks in his life, and now he finds himself facing some serious charges involving assaulting his eldest daughter.
- 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.
- MLB has announced a financial support plan for minor-league players amid (it’s a buzzword so get used to it) the COVID-19 outbreak. But don’t let this incredible testament to peer pressure and public outcry distract you from the fact that writer for The Athletic and angel of baseball Emily Waldon was the first and biggest advocate for minor league players once this crisis hit.