Jason Castro turned down contract extension from Astros

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In news that helps explain why the Astros are reportedly open to trading Jason Castro, according to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle the catcher turned down their contract extension offer last offseason.

Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish says the Astros offered him $10 million in guaranteed money to cover his final two arbitration-eligible seasons in 2015 and 2016, plus two option years that would have covered his first two seasons of free agency. If both options would have been picked up, Castro would have earned around $25 million over four years.

Instead he turned down the extension and struggled this season while hitting just .222 with a .651 OPS in 126 games. Of course, even after a rough year Castro is projected to make around $4 million via arbitration and, if he bounces back to his 2013 production that got him to the All-Star game, he’d then be one season away from a big payday as a 29-year-old free agent.

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.