Things haven’t gone according to plan for the Athletics and closer Sean Doolittle this season, but here’s some good news to pass along.
Doolittle has been limited to just one appearance this season due to a partially torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He missed the first six weeks of the season before making his return on May 27, but he went right back on the disabled list a few days later.
While there was some question about whether Doolittle would pitch again this season, he has made solid progress of late and there were positive reports during his minor league rehab assignment. He allowed one run in four inning and struck out the side in each of his last two appearances. Jane Lee of MLB.com notes that he was sitting in the 90-92 mph range while topping out at 93 mph.
Tyler Clippard functioned as the closer while Doolittle was sidelined, but he was traded to the Mets last month. It has been a bumpy ride in the A’s bullpen since, so Doolittle could get a chance to reclaim his old job. At the very least, he could go into the offseason with some peace of mind about his health.
Doolittle, 28, owns a 2.95 ERA with 10.6 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 over 176 appearances in the majors. He saved 22 games for Oakland last season.
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.