Being a closer in Boston is hazardous to your health.
Craig Kimbrel is already on the disabled list. Yesterday the Red Sox placed his replacement, Koji Uehara, on the DL as well. The reason: a pectoral muscle strain which he sustained Tuesday night. He underwent an MRI last night which confirmed the strain. John Farrell noted that’s it’s unusual for a pitcher to strain a pec:
“It obviously confirms a strain. To what extent? We’re still getting our arms around that. This is a unique injury for a pitcher. I guess the best thing I can tell you is the MRI does confirm the strain.”
The Red Sox recently picked up Brad Ziegler from the Diamondbacks. He’s now the third closer for Boston this year. Farrell noted, however, that it’s possible that Robbie Ross Jr. or Tommy Layne could pitch in save situations against lefty-heavy lineups, so make it four and five, perhaps
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.