This is one of those quintessential spring training stories.
Jayson Stark catches up with the Astros, who have assembled an all-or-nothing sort of team. Already a pretty strikeout prone bunch with Chris Carter, Jon Singleton, George Springer and Jason Castro, Houston has added Evan Gattis, Colby Rasmus and Luis Valbuena to their lineup. That’s gonna be a lot of whiffs.
But, as Stark notes, it could also mean a lot of dingers. And, based on this Evan Gattis quote, a lot of optimism:
“We’ll see, you know?” he laughed Monday. “Stay tuned. We’ll find out. But I think we’ll score a lot of runs. And if you do, you win a lot. Who cares about the strikeouts if you win the World Series?”
I wouldn’t bet money on that, but Gattis is paid to think positively about his and his team’s abilities, so no harm done. Still, as a fan of a team that has been pretty all or nothing the past couple of seasons in the strikeout/home run department, it’ll be either really cool or really frustrating to watch the Astros this year.
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.