So, that thing about the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup finally being in place? Well, Denard Span sat out tonight’s game against the Padres with a sore back and Yunel Escobar was forced to exit in the sixth inning after he was hit in the right hand by a pitch.
Escobar was hit by Andrew Cashner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning. It brought in the Nationals’ first run of the night and tied the game. The Nationals would score another run in the inning to take the lead. Escobar remained in the game initially before Danny Espinosa replaced him in the lineup and Anthony Rendon moved over to third. The Nationals should provide an update after the game.
Escobar has been all sorts of banged up this season and just missed some time last weekend with a hyperextended neck. The 32-year-old has still managed to be one of the Nationals’ best players, batting .308/.367/.423 with nine home runs and 42 RBI over 112 games.
The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.
Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.
Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.