This time last year Brandon League had just signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract to become the Dodgers’ closer and now he’s in danger of not even making the team out of spring training.
League was awful last season, losing the closer gig and being demoted to a mop-up role while posting a 5.30 ERA in 54 innings, and if there’s one team that won’t base a roster decision on simply owing someone a bunch of money it’s probably the Dodgers.
Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times notes that they’re stacked with bullpen options, both in terms of established veterans (many of whom have closing experience) and higher-upside young arms. League, meanwhile, has a 16.88 ERA this spring.
Dilbeck speculates that League will make the team, but be on a very short leash to begin the season. Whatever the case, a contract that was immediately mocked is now looking even worse than anyone could have imagined. Maybe the Dodgers will eat a big portion of the remaining money just to get another team to take League off their hands?
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.