The other day we heard that the league will attempt to seek the option to discipline players involved in off-the-field cases — like DUI — when labor contract talks begin after this season. Now the Associated Press is reporting that those conversations have already started:
Major League Baseball and its players’ association are considering a formal plan for dealing with alcohol-related incidents in the next collective bargaining agreement. Two baseball officials confirmed the negotiations to The Associated Press on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are considered confidential.
The framework is there, what with the current CBA already providing for penalties involving drugs of abuse as opposed to just PEDs. Obviously it’s not the same situation in that no one is suggesting that players can’t drink, so the violation part of any alcohol offense would not determined by MLB like it is with other drugs. Things they’d have to talk about would include offenses like DUI and drunken disorderlies and stuff and where it all fits in with the justice system.
Another way to go is to simply sidestep alcohol and deal with criminal activity in general. That would have its own issues too in terms of what kind of behavior would warrant discipline. Drunk driving is one thing. Cheating on taxes is something else. And given the way pleas go, you can’t really just say felonies lead penalties, misdemeanors don’t.
But even if it isn’t easy, I’m glad they’re at least talking about it.
The Rays lost 4-1 to the Yankees on Monday night, which clinched a postseason berth for the Athletics just as they began their own game against the Mariners. For the 94-62 A’s, it’s their first postseason appearance since 2014 when they lost the AL Wild Card game to the Royals.
Major League Baseball celebrated the Athletics’ achievement by tweeting this fact: The A’s are the first team since 1988 to make the postseason with baseball’s lowest Opening Day payroll ($66 million).
John J. Fisher, who has owned the A’s since 2005, has a net worth approaching $3 billion. The Athletics franchise is valued at over $1 billion. Yet the A’s have never had an Opening Day payroll at $90 million or above and have consistently been among the teams with the lowest payrolls. The cultural shift towards embracing analytics has allowed the A’s to get away with investing as little money as possible into the team. Moneyball helped change baseball’s zeitgeist such that many began to fetishize doing things on the cheap and now the league itself is embracing it.
What the fact MLB tweeted says is actually this: John J. Fisher was able to save a few bucks this year and the A’s still somehow made it to the postseason.
The Athletics’ success is due to a whole host of players, but particularly youngsters Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Daniel Mengden, Lou Trivino, among others. All are pre-arbitration aside from Manaea. When it comes time to pay them something approaching what they’re actually worth, will the A’s reward them for their contributions or will they do what they’ve always done and cut bait? After reaching the postseason in 2014, the A’s traded away Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and John Jaso. Each was a big influence on the club’s success. Athletics fans should be happy their favorite team has reached the postseason, but if the team’s history is any precedent, they shouldn’t get attached to any of the players. Is that really something Major League Baseball should be advocating?