From Dylan Hernandez at the Los Angeles Times:
PHOENIX — In the clubhouse a day before position players were scheduled to report for spring training, Hanley Ramirez said Wednesday he wanted to be “a Dodger for life.”
But Ramirez otherwise declined to talk about his contractual status, saying with a smile, “I’m a baseball player.”
It was reported in late January that Ramirez and the Los Angeles front office were in the “early stages” of extension negotiations, and it stands to reason that the discussions will get more serious once all of the parties involved settle into spring camp.
Ramirez, 30, hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 86 games last season.
He is currently scheduled to hit the free agent market five days after the 2014 World Series.
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.