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Red Sox acquire Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks

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The Red Sox announced early Saturday morning that the club acquired reliever Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Jose Almonte and middle infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe. To make room for Ziegler on the 40-man roster, the club moved catcher/outfielder Blake Swihart to the 60-day disabled list.

Ziegler, 36, did not pitch on Friday night against the Giants. He has saved 18 games in 20 chances with a 2.82 ERA and a 27/15 K/BB ratio in 38 1/3 innings. Strikeouts aren’t really his thing, as his 16.4 percent strikeout rate is the 14th-lowest among qualified relievers. Ziegler succeeds by inducing ground balls. His 63 percent ground ball rate is the seventh highest among qualified relievers.

Ziegler will likely set up for Craig Kimbrel in the Red Sox bullpen. Kimbrel, however, was not available on Friday due to soreness in his left knee. In the event Kimbrel would need to go on the disabled list, Ziegler could get the chance to close over Koji Uehara, who has been the club’s closer in recent years but owns an ugly 4.83 ERA this season.

Almonte, 20, has spent the season with Single-A Greenville, compiling a 3.91 ERA and a 45/13 K/BB ratio in 53 innings.

Basabe, 19, has also spent year with Greenville, batting .311/.414/.471 with four home runs, 24 RBI, 39 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 271 plate appearances. Luis Alejandro Basabe has a twin brother in the Red Sox system, Luis Alexander. Alexander was rated the club’s eighth-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. Alejandro was not ranked.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.