The Angels have essentially had the AL West wrapped up for weeks now, but it was Monday’s win over the Mariners that officially put them into the postseason, as they became the first team this year to clinch a berth.
It will be the Angels’ first trip to the postseason in five years. They lost in the ALCS in 2009, which concluded a run in which they went to the postseason six times in eight years.
Rookie Matt Shoemaker got the victory in an 8-1 game Monday, taking a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up a run and leaving with a minor injury sustained on a grounder up the middle. He improved to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA on the season.
The other bad news was that Albert Pujols left the game with a mild hamstring injury that he might need to rest for a few days. The Angels got homers from David Freese and Brennan Boesch in the rout.
For the Mariners, it was another big loss, putting a major crimp in their own postseason plans. They’ve dropped three in a row to fall two games back of the Royals for the second wild card.
At 94-56, the Angels merely need to play .500 ball from here on in to win 100 games for the second time in franchise history. If they go 7-5, they’ll overtake the 2008 Angels, who finished the season 100-62 before losing in the ALDS.
The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.
Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.
Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.