We knew that the Red Sox were planning to send a scout to watch right-hander Javier Vazquez pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League last night, but they weren’t alone.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Rays, Nationals and Royals were also in attendance. For what it’s worth, the box score indicates that Vazquez pitched well, giving up just three hits over six shutout innings while striking out five and walking none. Rosenthal hears that he was clocked at 93 mph.
Vazquez, 36, had a 3.69 ERA and 162/50 K/BB ratio over 192 2/3 innings with the Marlins during his last stint in the majors in 2011. Given the crazy money being thrown around to starters this winter, he shouldn’t have a problem getting a guaranteed major league deal if he wants to return. Word is that he may not make a final decision until after he pitches for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but he has a preference to pitch on the East Coast.
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.