Cubs hand fifth spot in rotation to Carlos Villanueva

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Carlos Villanueva didn’t exactly impress in his 17 2/3 innings in the Cactus League, but the Cubs’ other options didn’t fare any better. That’s why, as Gordon Wittenmeyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports, the Cubs have given the fifth spot in the rotation to Villanueva.

Villanueva posted a 5.60 ERA during the spring. Chris Rusin, one of his competitors, finished at 7.45 in 19 1/3 innings. He was absolutely shelled by the Diamondbacks in his most recent start on March 26, allowing nine runs on ten hits (including four home runs) in 2 2/3 innings. Jake Arrieta, the other candidate, still isn’t ready as he is making his way back from a sore right shoulder.

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.