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Tampa Bay Rays News and Links: We’re talking about practice

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But practice for what? MLB, MLBPA reportedly far apart on negotiations

Divisional Series - Houston Astros v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Four Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

There have been reports that MLB had presented the MLBPA a proposal on player pay yesterday (this in addition to the proposal on health protocols distributed earlier) that included some hefty payroll cuts. (Just to clarify — players have already agreed to pro-rate their salaries dependent on the number of games played, so these reductions come off already pro-rated salaries). Jeff Passan is reporting that the owners are proposing a sliding scale of pay cuts, with the highest earning players losing a larger percentage than the players at or slightly above league minimum. The pay scale, he says, looks something like this (it’s the second table, that compares owner proposal to pro-rated salaries, that is most useful):

The MLBPA calls this a non-starter. To be clear, they object to pay cuts altogether.

It’s hard to say whether we are watching two sides staking out negotiating positions, but eager to return, or whether there are truly insurmountable differences between owners and players. On the one hand, it would seem that both sides have something to gain from playing half a season, even in empty stadiums, assuming they can agree on safety precautions. On the other hand, with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement ending after the 2021 season, it’s conceivable that one or both sides could prefer taking a hit in 2020 in order to preserve its bargaining prerogatives in next year’s negotiations.

It’s clear, however, that any protracted negotiation would kill the chance of having even an abbreviated season.

On a happier note, with states and counties slowly reopening, some teams are allowing players to work out at their ballparks, and the Rays were among them. The team took pains to ensure safety. Players and coaches rotated in and out on a schedule to keep the number of people on the field low. Surfaces were cleaned frequently by Tropicana Field staff (and kudos to them for their work). Photos suggest that anyone not actively practicing was wearing a mask.

In short it didn’t look much like normal baseball, but....it was glorious!

Kevin Cash and Austin Meadows share thoughts on the voluntary workout, and there are actual scenes of people throwing a baseball!

Other news:

  • Blake Snell, whose views on playing for reduced pay have been widely discussed, is now a Scott Boras client. ($)
  • If you are a pitcher, is there such a thing as “minor” elbow surgery? Brent Honeywell’s latest time under the knife has been reported as not a big deal, but it’s distressing to see any more roadblocks between Honey and his comeback.
  • Do you want to talk sports? And wine? Sounds like you are missing Joe Maddon. But there’s good news: while we are stuck at home, we can join Joe Maddon for his new show, “Uncorked.” He talks to sports folks but also let’s us know what he’s drinking.