All spring Erik Bedard insisted that he’d opt out of his minor-league contract with the Rays rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A and he was true to his word after losing the fifth-starter competition, deciding to become a free agent.
However, after shopping around for a big-league offer that never materialized Bedard has decided to return to the Rays on another minor-league deal and Bill Chastain of MLB.com reports that he’ll head to Triple-A Durham after all.
Bedard is 35 years old and has never been particularly reliable, but he struck out 256 batters in 277 innings during the past two seasons and still has the raw stuff to be serviceable back-of-the-rotation starter if the Rays need some reinforcements at some point.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.