Left-hander Michael Gonzalez has re-signed with the Nationals after being released by the team earlier this week.
It’s a pattern we’ve seen often this spring: Veteran player on a minor-league contract gets released so the team doesn’t have to pay him a $100,000 “retention” bonus, goes looking for a big-league roster spot elsewhere, and then returns to the original team when he can’t find it.
Gonzalez still seems capable of being a decent middle reliever at age 35–last season he had a 4.68 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 50 innings for the Brewers–so he’ll try to prove that at Triple-A and hope for another opportunity in Washington.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.