Cubs release Rex Brothers before $1.4 million deal becomes guaranteed

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Rex Brothers was released today by the Cubs, who signed the left-hander to a $1.42 million contract in December after acquiring him from the Rockies.

However, because the contract was an agreement to avoid arbitration it’s only partially guaranteed. By releasing Brothers now the Cubs owe him only 30 days of termination pay, which is around $300,000. In other words, they made the decision so early in spring training precisely because it saved them the most money in a situation unique to this specific type of contract.

Not so long ago Brothers looked like one of the best young relievers in the league, saving 19 games with  1.74 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 67 innings for the Rockies in 2013 as a 25-year-old. However, the former first-round draft pick struggled in 2014 and then spent most of last season in the minors before failing to impress the Cubs this spring.

At age 28 he should have plenty of interested suitors on a minor-league contract, but will have to get his career back on track before returning to the majors.

MLB and MLBPA announce first set of COVID-19 test results

MLB COVID-19 test results
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
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On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.

There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.

Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.