So what would the Red Sox look like with Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval?

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The deals are not done yet. Hanley Ramirez is said to be close and Pablo Sandoval is not even signed yet (though some dude claims Sandoval was on his flight to Boston last night; we’re clearly in silly season, folks). And heck, it could be that the Sox went after Ramirez with the notion of giving up on the pursuit of Sandoval. But let us ponder what the 2015 Red Sox look like if both of these highly-sought-after infielders sign in Boston.

Well, for one thing they probably aren’t both infielders anymore. Sandoval would be. He’d be the Red Sox’ Opening Day third baseman and, eventually I presume, their DH once David Ortiz retires. But what of Ramirez? Because the Sox have Xander Bogaerts to play shortstop, and he’ll certainly play it way better than Ramirez can.

You have to figure Ramirez becomes an outfielder. And you have to assume that he’d be the left fielder because, really, isn’t that where you’d be most likely to put a converted infielder? And if Hanley Ramirez is an outfielder some dudes need to be moved. Because at the moment they Red Sox have a lot of outfielders: Mookie Betts. Yoenis Cespedes. Rusney Castillo. Shane Vicotorino. Allen Craig and Daniel Nava are floating around too.

Yoenis Cespedes has been rumored to be on the block already. If both Sandoval and Ramirez were signed he could be traded, either on his own or packaged up somehow with, I dunno, Will Middelbrooks, likely for some much-needed starting pitching. And that, of course, is assuming the Sox don’t also sign Jon Lester which, heck, I suppose they could too. At any rate, they could enter 2015 with a lineup like this:

1. Mookie Betts RF
2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
3. David Ortiz DH
4. Hanley Ramirez LF
5. Pablo Sandoval 3B
6. Mike Napoli 1B
7. Xander Bogaerts SS
8. Rusney Castillo CF
9. Christian Vazquez C

That would play. And, you have to figure — assuming they use their cash and thier outfielder surplus to get some pitching — would make the Sox the early favorites in the A.L. East.

Agent highlights injustice of spring training for minor leaguers

Joshua Kusnick
Joshua Kusnick
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On Wednesday evening, agent Joshua Kusnick (pictured) tweeted about an injustice one of his clients, a minor league player, is facing at spring training. He wrote:

Have an milb client who showed up 2 weeks ago

He isnt being paid because spring training didnt start for milb 10 dollars a day per diem.

They have a 1200 deposit for the hotel. The player. Making 6k a year.

Player has no choice in staying at hotel Pays own way to field!

No gas reimbursement. If player has a car he must stay at hotel

This is insanity. Someone has to change this

As we have mentioned here before, minor leaguers aren’t paid during spring training. Despite this, teams place significant restrictions on their behavior, including how they travel and where they stay. Teams do provide a per diem for meals and will reimburse the player for his hotel stay, but that a player making so little is expected to take on the up-front cost of the deposit, as well as is quite unfair. According to Kusnick, the hotel will release the deposit when the player checks out.

I asked Kusnick to elaborate more on the issue facing his client as well as minor leaguers in general. He said, “These guys make less than minimum wage and they’re sold the lie that if they have a uniform they have a shot to get paid.” He emphasized, “It’s ownership’s oldest lie.”

Kusnick’s client, like many other minor leaguers, has to pick up a part-time job in the offseason to help make ends meet. His client gives lessons. Kusnick said, “It’s embarrassing to see pro athletes in America with part-time jobs in 2020 in an $8-10 billion industry.” He added that the players “have the anger but they don’t know what to do.”

Kusnick pointed out that his client got a bonus, and despite the injustice in question, his client generally has it better than most other minor league players in spring training. He urges us to think about the “undrafted free agent guys” who didn’t get a signing bonus, earning $6,000 per year and facing similar circumstances. “That’s not a fair shot,” Kusnick says. “It doesn’t make guys hungrier. It’s bulls***. It’s ownership selling bulls***. And they’re the kings of it. Ask Jim Crane.”

Asked about potential solutions, Kusnick suggested that the more prominent agents like Scott Boras use their “immense platform for good” to “establish real change.” He also suggested that minor leaguers could benefit from the MLBPA looping them in, especially “since they bargain away draft rights.” Kusnick doesn’t have faith in commissioner Rob Manfred even though he is “the only man who can do something now unilaterally.” An exasperated Kusnick tacked on, “Given the Astros situation, I’m not holding my breath.”

One thing is clear: Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball benefit from minor leaguers’ lack of unionization and their leverage deficit, forcing them to take on undue burdens just to go to work. Kusnick’s client and others like him shouldn’t be taking on the up-front cost of lodging and travel (“no gas reimbursement”). They should be paid a livable wage during the season, as well as during spring training and in the offseason when they are still responsible for training, nutrition, working on mechanics, watching video, etc. There are rarely days off for those in the minor leagues. It’s high time they are taken care of by teams that can, without question, afford to do so. Major league teams, not their minor league affiliates, are responsible for the salaries of the minor league players in their system.

Kusnick insists we “keep fighting and bringing attention to these issues so maybe one day the public pressure forces change. Until then, fight the bastards at every turn until they notice you and do something, if only to shut us up. It’ll work.”