Rays sign newly acquired Ryan Hanigan to extension

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As part of their trade acquiring Ryan Hanigan from the Reds earlier today the Rays announced a three-year, $10.75 million contract extension with the catcher.

The deal also includes an option for 2017, which means Hanigan is now under team control through age 36. He was arbitration eligible for the final time in 2014 and would have hit the open market as a free agent next offseason, so clearly being able to agree to the extension was a big part of the trade for the Rays.

Tampa Bay also picked up Heath Bell as part of the three-team swap with the Reds and Diamondbacks.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.