Per John Blake — the Rangers’ executive VP of communications — on Twitter, the club has announced Cole Hamels as the Opening Day Starter. The news doesn’t come as any surprise, as the Rangers’ other ace, Yu Darvish, isn’t expected to return until mid-May as he’s still on his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Rangers host the Mariners on April 4 for a three-game set to open the regular season.
This will be Hamels’ third Opening Day start. The 32-year-old posted a 3.64 ERA over 20 starts with the Phillies last season before they traded him along with reliever Jake Diekman to the Rangers in exchange for starter Matt Harrison and five minor leaguers. In 12 starts with his new team, Hamels stayed consistent with a 3.66 ERA.
Hamels is under contract through at least 2018, earning $22.5 million in each of the next three seasons plus a $6 million buyout for 2019 if the Rangers decide not to pick up his $20 million club option.
In March, Major League Baseball agreed to pay minor league players $400 per week while the sport is shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic. That provision is set to expire at the end of May. As Craig noted earlier, the Athletics will not be paying their minor leaguers starting on June 1.
Several teams are doing the right thing, continuing to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week through at least the end of June. Per The Athletic’s Levi Weaver and James Fegan, the Rangers and White Sox will each tack on another month of pay. The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reported earlier that the Padres will pay their players through the end of August. Craig also cited a Baseball America report from this morning, which mentioned that the Marlins will also pay their players through the end of August.
Frankly, if the Marlins can find a way to continue paying their minor league players, then every team should be able to do the same. The Marlins are widely believed to be the least profitable among the 30 major league clubs. Here’s hoping the rest of the league follows the Rangers’, White Sox’s, Padres’, and Marlins’ lead as opposed to the Athletics’.