Despite the MLB season being halted, plenty of baseball news has come out over the past week. From injury progress to player additions to season adjustments, here are a few recent events surrounding the Red Sox and baseball.
Red Sox Investigation Concluded
The much-awaited cheating report has grown ever closer to becoming public knowledge, as the investigation was announced to have been concluded last Thursday, March 26. It has been a couple of months since the Astro’s report was released, but the team saw a relatively small punishment of losing four high picks and $5 Million. The Red Sox report is expected to be released prior to the start of the 2020 season, and we should expect similar repercussions.
Minor League News
It appears that the virus is moving around the minors after the Yankees reported a couple cases, along with the Red Sox. While no other Sox players have been announced positive since, there is a high chance we will see more cases before this thing is over.
The MLB also has announced its plan to pay minor leaguers. The league will pay minor league players $400 per week through May 31 or until the beginning of the season, whichever comes first. This will be a significant loss for triple-A players, who normally get paid $502 per week at minimum, but it will be a bit of a raise for any other lower leaguer.
Chris Sale underwent successful Tommy John surgery Monday, March 30 in LA on his left elbow. Dr. Neal ElAttrache replaced Sale’s ulnar collateral ligament, and he is expected to miss slightly over two years. Thanks to the timing of his surgery, and the likely large delay or outright cancellation of the season, he may end up missing less than two seasons. Certainly a smart choice, which would’ve been even better if he underwent the surgery at the conclusion of last year’s campaign, potentially setting him up to miss only one season.
The Red Sox have optioned four pitchers to the minor leagues: Colten Brewer, Chris Mazza, Matt Hall, and Jeffrey Springs. This was following the signing of Yairo Munoz to a minor league contract. Another low risk, high reward signing, as Munoz made the Cardinals opening day roster the past two seasons.
The young 25-year-old shortstop has played 196 games over two years, while boasting an impressive .273 batting average. He could make the case to start at second this year, with the job open for competition from multiple young, qualified candidates. Even if he doesn’t get the job the Sox could use him as a utility man or stash him in the minors to further his development.
MLB, MLBPA 2020 Agreements
The MLB and MLBPA came together to ratify a deal that cleared up a few issues regarding the 2020 season. For starters, the agreement laid out the conditions needed for the season to start. There must 1) be no bans on mass gatherings, 2) no flight restrictions and 3) Medical experts say that it won’t endanger players/coaches/fans. Unfortunately, that could be far away from now, but at least we now explicitly know when we will see baseball again.
But that’s not all, as the draft also saw adjustments. The league will trim the draft to only five rounds, with the option to expand it back to normal or somewhere in between. They also have the power to push back the draft to the end of July, instead of the normal mid-June slot. The 2019 bonus slots will stay in effect for two more seasons, and the international signing period could be delayed as well.
The biggest development is that players WILL receive service time even if the season is canceled. Now, this specifically affects Red Sox fans in four main ways. The first is that practically all signings this year will be free agents again, which isn’t really a large issue as odds are the Sox could resign most of them anyway.
The second is that three important players could become free agents. J.D. Martinez has a player option, which he will probably accept anyways, but you never know. And closer Brandon Workman will get a relatively large deal, with the money probably coming from resigning the Jackie Bradley to a much cheaper contract or letting him leave altogether.
The third is that they will save A LOT of money. They no longer will pay $14 Million of Buried Minor Salary nor $13 Million Injured Reserve money. Their retained salary will drop by $5 Million, as they will no longer be paying Sandoval, but deferred salaries may increase by $2 Million due to Pedroia.
So overall, their payroll will drop by $30 Million just from penalties expiring, and another $24 Million if they let go of all expiring free agents, not including player or team options. That means they go from dishing out roughly $183 Million to a mere $125 Million. That sure is a good sign for free agency, as the Red Sox could look to pick up a handful of stars to bolter their young core.
But the fourth and most amusing event that could occur due to this agreement is Mookie Betts leaving the Dodgers before he plays even a single game for them! That means the Sox finessed a young stud outfielder and two impressive prospects for David Price! That would surely make Boston fans a lot more satisfied with the team.
A good way to end this news brief, here we share a quick idea invented by Agent Scott Boras on how the season could look. Boras believes that the MLB can play all 162 games, and would finish with the World Series on Christmas day! This submitted proposal would start June 1, but he also submitted a second 144-game season that begins July 1 if they need a longer delay.