Bruce Bochy leaning towards batting Brandon Belt third

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Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave an idea of how he’ll construct his lineup going into the 2015 season. It includes Brandon Belt batting third, as well as newcomers Casey McGehee and Norichika Aoki batting sixth and seventh.

Belt, 27 in April, hit fifth or lower in the Giants’ lineup in 34 of the 61 games in which he appeared during the 2014 season. Despite limited playing time due to a fractured thumb and concussion issues, Belt was among the more productive hitters for the Giants, finishing with a .243/.306/.449 slash line along with 12 home runs and 27 RBI in 235 plate appearances.

Hunter Pence, who finished with an on-base percentage 25 points higher than Belt last season, hits fifth. One wonders if it may be more logical to bat Pence third and Belt fifth.

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.