Rosenthal: “The Mariners are going to do something”

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Well, duh. And maybe not something as big as they did last offseason when they signed Robinson Cano, but Ken Rosenthal has an idea about their priorities in his notes column today.

Those priorities include Nelson Cruz or Matt Kemp over Hanley Ramirez. Presumably on price, fit and durability as it relates to Cruz over Ramirez. Kemp would obviously be a trade target and the calculus would be different. Rosenthal also notes what some other people mentioned yesterday, but which got a bit lost in the shuffle due to the Braves trade of Jason Heyward: they are interested in Justin Upton and the two teams have been in contact about him.

If I was less of a liberal arts person I could create some sort of Boolean expression which orders all of this properly, with Cruz and Ramirez appearing first and, if both are false, moving on to some sort of Kemp/Upton hierarchy. But I can’t really do that. I got a political science and English degree for cryin’ out loud. It’s a wonder I can even feed myself.

MLB rejected Players’ 114-game season proposal, will not send a counter

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”

This should be understood as a game of chicken.

The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.

The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.

Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”

In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.