Orioles “pushing to complete” extension with Nelson Cruz

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Baltimore got an incredible bargain by signing Nelson Cruz to a one-year, $8 million contract and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles are “pushing to complete” an extension with the 33-year-old impending free agent.

Cruz’s price tag dropped because he was coming off a suspension last season and had draft pick compensation attached to his free agency. So the Orioles picked him up on the cheap and watched as he led the league with 40 homers and hit .271 with an .859 OPS that topped his career mark by 35 points.

Rosenthal reported earlier today that the Orioles were on the verge of signing impending free agent shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year extension worth at least $40 million, so apparently Baltimore’s front office is really taking advantage of the down time between the end of the ALDS and the start of the ALCS.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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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.