From Nick Cafardo’s Sunday notebook in the Boston Globe:
Word is spreading that the Red Sox could make Cespedes available. He will earn $10.2 million in the final year of his deal. Cespedes said late in the season that he wasn’t sure whether he’d engage in long-term talks with the Red Sox. Couple that with his desire not to play right field or work on his defense, and that could make him a trade candidate as the Red Sox try to pare their outfield depth and possibly make room for Mookie Betts or add a lefthanded hitter.
Boston has an outfield logjam between Betts, Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Shane Victorino, Allen Craig, and Daniel Nava, so there’s going to be some kind of deal-making this winter. Cespedes was acquired at the July 31 trade deadline in a blockbuster trade that sent Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A’s. The 29-year-old batted .269/.296/.423 with five home runs and 33 RBI in 51 games down the stretch for the Red Sox. He should be able to fetch another decent return.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.