Brayan Pena signs with the Reds

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Reds have signed catcher Brayan Pena to a two-year contract. The financials aren’t available and its all still pending a physical to be performed in Cincinnati on Tuesday, but other than that they got themselves a backup catcher.

Pena was with the Tigers last year where he hit .297/.315/.397 in 243 plate appearances. That was a bit better than his career numbers, but not totally out of whack. He’s been a backup his entire career, first with Atlanta and then Kansas City before his year in Detroit.

It’s hard to say what this means for current catchers Devin Mesoraco and Ryan Hanigan. But Hanigan is arbitration-eligible, so he may be the odd man out, clearing the job for Mesoraco after a year in which Hanigan got a bit more play than a backup catcher can usually expect despite being awful at the plate.

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.