UPDATE: Lee told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart that he expects to make a decision Sunday.
1:43 PM: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that as of this early afternoon, Carlos Lee continues to tell the Astros that he will not waive his no-trade clause.
Joining a contender should be a no-brainer, right? Not so easy. As Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com notes, Lee has a successful cattle ranch in Texas and is quite comfortable there.
1:01 PM: It appears the Astros and Dodgers have reached agreement on a deal that would send Carlos Lee to Los Angeles. However, Lee must waive his partial no-trade clause for the deal to go through.
According to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, Lee said the Dodgers have made him an an offer and he’s currently mulling over whether he will accept. He said he was given no deadline to make a decision. As of now, he is in the lineup for this afternoon’s game against the Cubs.
Lee, who turned 36 earlier this month, is hitting .290/.342/.412 with five homers, 29 RBI and a .754 OPS in 257 plate appearances this year. This includes a .667 OPS and zero homers on the road. His arrival would push James Loney into a part-time role.
Lee is due roughly $9 million for the rest of this season before hitting free agency and it’s believed the Dodgers are willing to absorb his remaining salary rather than give up a significant prospect. Garrett Gould, a 20-year-old right-handed pitcher, was scratched from a start with with High-A Rancho Cucamonga last night and could be headed to the Astros. Baseball America ranked him as the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect during the offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”
This should be understood as a game of chicken.
The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.
The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.
Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”
In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.