CC Sabathia says Yankees, not Red Sox, are the team to beat

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Asked yesterday what the Red Sox adding Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to their lineup does to the AL East picture, CC Sabathia predictably responded that the Yankees remain the team to beat in 2011.

You want me to say the Red Sox are the favorites? I mean … I think the Yankees. If you look in our clubhouse and look at our lineup and the things we can do, it’s hard not to like our chances.

Sabathia’s quote is pretty innocuous and anything but surprising, yet it somehow made back-page headlines in the New York Daily News (and its own post here, which I suppose makes me a co-conspirator). He even went on to say that the Red Sox “made some good moves” and “any time you can add a guy like Carl, and Adrian, that makes your lineup that much better” while adding that the Yankees are “just getting started” with their offseason additions (read: Lee, Cliff).

Also of note: Tampa Bay actually won the AL East this year. And in 2008.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.