Rays likely to sign Erik Bedard

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Confirming recent speculation from Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times hears that the Rays are likely to sign veteran left-hander Erik Bedard to a minor league contract.

Bedard made 26 starts with the Astros last season, his most since 2007 with the Orioles. However, while he managed to stay mostly healthy for a change, he posted a 4.59 ERA over 151 innings while averaging 4.5 BB/9. The 34-year-old has averaged just above 89 mph on his fastball over the past two seasons, so his velocity isn’t what it once was.

The Rays will be without right-hander Jeremy Hellickson until May following elbow surgery, so the additional rotation depth can’t hurt. As of now, Jake Odorizzi is considered the favorite to replace Hellickson in the rotation.

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.