Mariners sign John Buck to one-year, $1 million deal

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As first suggested by FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi and now confirmed by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Mariners have reached agreement on a one-year, $1 million major league contract with free agent catcher John Buck. The deal is only pending a physical and should be finalized at some point later this week.

Buck struggled to attract a healthy market this winter after batting .219 with a .285 on-base percentage in 431 plate appearances last season between the Mets and Pirates, but the 33-year-old has some power and won’t be asked to handle much of a load in Seattle behind starting catcher Mike Zunino.

Buck has averaged 22 home runs per 162 games since the beginning of the 2010 season.

The right-handed hitter has a .727 career OPS against left-handed pitching.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.