FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the market for free agent right-hander Chad Billingsley is “gaining momentum” and he has received “multiple offers.”
No word on who the offers are from, but we heard earlier this offseason that the Diamondbacks were interested. It makes sense as a potential fit on the surface, as Billingsley’s agent used to be Dave Stewart, who is now the general manager for Arizona. However, the Diamondbacks have a lot of options for their rotation already and Patrick Corbin and Bronson Arroyo should be back by midseason after Tommy John surgery.
Billingsley hasn’t pitched in the majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April of 2013. The 30-year-old had another surgery last June, this time to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow, but he’s expected to be ready for spring training. He will likely have to settle for an incentive-laden contract, similar to what we saw with the Padres and Josh Johnson.
Billingsley owns a 3.65 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 over 190 starts and 29 relief appearances in the majors.
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.