Your pre-arbitration filing deadline signing scoreboard, Part III

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First we had Part I, then we had Part II, and now we have even more signings!  We will not be undersold!

  • Carl Pavano, Twins, $7 million.  Heyman says he “wouldn’t give that guy a penny.”  Maybe $7 million is a lot, but aren’t there such a thing as average starting pitchers in Heyman’s world?
  • Russell Martin, Dodgers, $5.05 million. Not a big raise for Martin, but it’s not like he had the best year ever.
  • Jered Weaver, Angels, $4.265 million. It’s hard to express in English, but I’m sure the Germans have some awesome, multi-syllabic word that perfectly expresses the notion of “a player who feels like he has been around forever due to the fact that he was a highly touted prospect, yet who is inexplicably still in his arbitration years.” 
  • Peter Moylan, Braves, $1.15 million. Dude missed almost all of 2008 following elbow surgery and then Bobby Cox throws him out there 87 times.  Either his arm is made of rubber or Bobby Cox thinks he’s two different guys.
  • Matt Garza, Rays, $3.35 million. Anyone else see a Sid Fernandez career for this guy?  As was the case with El Sid, whenever I see him he looks dominant, but they you look at his numbers at the end of the year and he’s just like, eh. Good pitcher, but if he could harness the awesomeness of which he is occasionally capable he’d be somethin’ else.
  • David Aardsma, Mariners, $2.75 million. Milton Bradley says that as long as Aardsma plays the right way, comes to spring training ready to
    work and ready to be part of the team that they have–good guys put their
    nose to the ground and bust their butts–they’ll even take Aardsma.
  • Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, and Humberto Quintero, Astros for $2.4 million, $1.625 million and $750,000, respectively. Bourn was the only one of the three NL Gold Glovers who actually deserved it last year.
  • Jason Hammel, Rockies, $1.9 million. Jason Marquis gets $15 million over two years. The guy who the Rockies actually trusted to pitch in the playoffs is paid under $2 million for a year. Viva the free market.
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics, money not yet reported. Obviously the A’s knew they had to pay him when they dealt for him, but doesn’t doing this deal a mere couple of days after the trade feel like putting a new water pump in a car you just friggin’ bought?
  • J.P. Howell, Rays, $1.8 million. Hey, J.P., I know you’re not the closer anymore, but please take this raise as a parting gift.
  • Jason Frasor, Brian Tallet, Blue Jays, $2.65 million and $ 2 million, respectively.  I continue to be upset that Alex Anthopoulos didn’t get to kick ass and take names in arbitration like he said he was going to.
  • Delmon Young, Twins, $2.6MM with $25,000 bonuses each for 575 and 600 plate appearances. You gotta figure that if he doesn’t step up and assert himself this year that he’s non-tender bait for next year.
  • Alex Gordon and Robinson Tejeda, Royals, terms are top secret. They could tell you, but then they’d have to kill you.
  • Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks $3.4 million. He’s the Ashlee Simpson of the Drew brothers. Wait, I forgot about Tim Drew.  Let’s start over: Tim is Magda Gabor, J.D. is Zsa Zsa, and Stephen is Eva. 
  • John Danks, White Sox,  $3.45 million, and all of the Slim-Fast he can drink. Forget that. I got my Danks and Jenks mixed up.  Again.
  • Pedro Feliciano, Mets $2.9 million with $100K in performance bonuses. He’s used so much, however that he’s probably the cheapest pitcher in baseball on a pro-rata basis.  If the Mets are out of it this year they should try to break Mike Marshall’s record with the guy.
  • Chris Ray, Rangers, $975,000. Ray saved 33 games once upon a time, but a 7.27 ERA and Tommy John surgery in the rear window will cut down on your market price.
  • Jeremy Accardo, Blue Jays, $1.08 million.  Accardo is like that old barn on a road trip. I feel like I’ve reported this deal four of five times already today, but according to my map I’m still heading in the right direction;
  • Rafael Perez, Indians, $795,000. Another member of the 7.00+ ERA club. I actually saw him pitch here in Columbus last year. I’m sure I’ll get plenty of chances this year too.
  • Luke Scott, Orioles, $4.05 million. I like Luke Scott. I kind of hope he turns into Matt Stairs and hangs around forever.
  • Jeff Baker, Mike Fontenot, Koyie Hill, Angel Guzman and Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs, for $975,000 $1million, $700,000, $825,000 and $800,000, respectively. Man, the Cubs were busy this morning. Kind of makes me wish I was in the room at the same time. I bet I’d have a good shot of slipping a contract with my name on it in front of Jim Hendry and walking away with $800K. 
  • Zach Duke, Pirates, terms unknown. And Duke comes from Parts Unknown. Used to wrestle with a mask back in his high school days. True story.
  • Mark Lowe, Mariners $1.15 million.  At some point in the last hour I became convinced that people just started making up names of baseball players and tweeted phony deals for them. Neat idea. I think I’m going to jump on the Twitter and make up one myself.

Adams homers in 16th to lift Cardinals over Dodgers 4-3

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ST. LOUIS — Matt Adams homered in the 16th inning to lead the Cardinals to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night for St. Louis’ season-best fifth straight victory.

It was the second consecutive game that the Cardinals won in their final at-bat. They beat the Padres on Thursday after scoring a run in the ninth inning.

Adams homer came with one out off Bud Norris (5-9), who gave up six runs as a starter in an 8-1 loss at Washington on Wednesday.

Seth Maness (1-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief for St. Louis, which was playing its longest game of the season.

Jedd Gyorko hit a two-out homer off closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth to tie the game 3-3.

Justin Turner and Howie Kendrick homered for the Dodgers. Los Angeles has lost four of six. The red-hot Turner has seven homers and 17 RBI this month. He hit two homers in a 6-3 win over Washington on Thursday.

Turner blasted his career-high 18th homer of the season off Seung Hwan Oh in the ninth to break a 2-2 tie.

Corey Seager had four hits and drove in the first run of the game. He had hit in seven successive at-bats before flying out in the ninth.

Kendrick’s solo shot in the sixth tied the game 2-2. He has hit in 14 successive games trying Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the longest current streak in the majors.

Los Angeles starter Brandon McCarthy allowed one hit and two runs over 6 1-3 innings, the longest of his four starts this season. He left with leg cramps. McCarthy struck out four and walked three.

St. Louis starter Michael Wacha allowed two runs on 10 hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked one.

Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore recorded his 28th successive scoreless outing by retiring two of four batters in the seventh. He has not allowed a run in 41 of 42 appearances this season.

Minor League Players’ Wage Suit against Major League Baseball suffers a huge setback

The judge's gavel is seen in court room 422 of the New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street February 3, 2012. REUTERS/Chip East
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A judge handed minor leaguers looking to hold Major League Baseball liable for underpaying and exploiting them a huge setback today, ruling that the case cannot go forward as a class action. Minor leaguers who want to sue over their pay and treatment still can, but they’ll have to do it individually. The ruling saps the minor leaguers of their leverage, as Major League Baseball would likely be able to fend off individual cases which, by themselves, might only amount to several thousand dollars per claim.

The background: in 2014, former Miami Marlins player Aaron Senne sued Major League Baseball, Bud Selig, and three major league clubs claiming that minor leaguers are underpaid and exploited in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. He was later joined by former Royals minor leaguer Michael Liberto and Giants farmhand Oliver Odle. Eventually others joined and the suit had been expanded to 22 teams as defendants.

The upshot of the case is that, while the minor league season lasts only part of the year, players are required to do all sorts of things outside of merely playing games for which they are not compensated. Training, meetings, appearances and the like. When all of that time is added up, the players claim, their already low salaries are effectively far below minimum wage in violation of the law. Major League Baseball has countered this by claiming that minor leaguers are basically part time seasonal workers — like landscapers and pool boys — who are not subject to federal labor laws.

Last year the judge gave the case conditional certification, allowing the players to try to establish that it should go forward as a class action. This would streamline the case from the plaintiffs’ perspective and give them the power of collective action by asserting hundreds or more similar cases into one proceeding. The judge’s ruling today, however, was that the cases really weren’t factually similar and thus collective action was not appropriate because figuring out how many hours each player worked and what was required of him varied too greatly among the players.

From his order:

“The difficulties associated with determining what activities constitute ‘work’ in the context of winter training are compounded by the fact that there appear to be no official records documenting these activities. Because it may be impossible to determine from official records the types of conditioning activities in which the players engaged, membership in the state classes based on winter training would depend largely upon the players’ ability to remember, with a reasonable amount of detail, what they did during the off-season (often for multiple years and for many, several years in the past) to stay fit.”

The judge said that, in light of this, each case would be unique and would require “individualized inquiries” to find damages and liability. That phrase –“individualized inquiries” — constitutes magic words which sink would-be class actions. If a company overcharges all of its customers by $8 due to an error repeated a million times, it’s easy to look at one set of facts and judge them together. If you had to look at a million different wrongs, that’s no class action. And so it is not a class action for the players.

As many courts who have dealt with these sorts of cases have noted, for many plaintiffs, a class action is the only practical method of adjudicating Fair Labor Standards Act cases because individual plaintiffs are frequently unable to bear the costs of separate trials. They are, by definition, (allegedly) exploited workers. They’re not going to be able to pay legal costs and fight off a multi-billion dollar business in order to collect the few thousand dollars they were underpaid. At the same time, however, the defendants have rights too and, if the facts of each players’ treatment truly differ (e.g. the Yankees make their minor leaguers do more than the Brewers do) it’s not fair to bind one defendant’s defense to the acts of another.

So, where does this leave the players? Not dead. Not yet, at least. Their claims have not been dismissed on the merits. They have only been denied the right to act collectively. The individual plaintiffs can now file separate lawsuits against their former employers and Major League Baseball under the same theories. It would be harder to land a big blow in such a scenario, but if enough do, it could end up being death by a thousand cuts for the clubs and the league. Their legal fees might go up and, eventually, if they lose enough of these cases, more might be filed. There are a lot of former minor leaguers, after all, and once there’s some blood in the water, more of them — and their lawyers — may enter the frenzy. Decertification is certainly a win for the league right now, but it’s not necessarily a permanent win.

There are likewise some other quasi-collective forms this case could take such as multi-district litigation in which the cases, while individual, are coordinated in a loose fashion. That could lead to some efficiencies for suing players even if it’s not as robust as a class action.

We’ve written quite a bit about minor league pay and treatment in this space by now, so you probably know where we stand on it. We believe that minor leaguers are exploited and underpaid and we believe that Major League Baseball has been happy to exploit and underpay them for some time. Ultimately we believe that this state of affairs cannot and will not persist and that eventually, somehow, baseball will either see fit to pay its workers fairly or, more likely, will be forced to do so by a court or by collective bargaining of some fashion.

Today, however, was a big setback for the minor leaguers. Today’s ruling will give Major League Baseball and its clubs more time and more comfort in which to underpay them. There’s no doubt about it.