The Astros are calling up George Springer

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I wasn’t expecting this until June, maybe, but the Astros are going with the smart baseball decision over the smart financial decision. From Mark Berman at Fox26 Houston:

Major League Baseball sources told FOX 26 Sports the Houston Astros will call up outfielder George Springer from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Springer went 3-4 with a grand slam and four RBIs in the RedHawks 11-9 win in Colorado Springs Tuesday night. He is hitting .353 this season with three home runs and nine RBIs. Last season Springer hit .303 with 37 home runs and 108 RBIs while splitting time between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

He’s clearly ready for the majors. And maybe would’ve been there already, but the Astros seemed determined to use his time in the minors as a way to leverage him into accepting a seven-year, $23 million contract. Which, however cool that might be for a guy at least three years from a significant payday, would seriously undervalue him if he even comes close to fulfilling his potential. A gamble for Springer, sure, but given where salaries are these days, him getting less than $4 million a year as he goes through arbitration would be almost comically cheap.

It’ll be interesting to see if the sides do reach a long-term agreement soon after his callup, the way the Rays and Evan Longoria did when he finally reached the majors back in 2008. If so, it’ll add some credence to the notion that the Astros made Springer’s callup contingent on his accepting a long term deal. If not, it means that Springer called the Astros’ bluff and basically forced them to call him up via his fantastic play.

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.