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What’s on Tap: Previewing Wednesday evening’s action

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Wednesday’s action is already under way with four early afternoon games and two mid-afternoon games. And, to be honest, the pitching matchups for the evening aren’t terribly exciting.

It’s worth noting that Aaron Sanchez will return to the Blue Jays’ rotation after a spell at High-A Dunedin. If it seems odd that someone who made the 2016 All-Star team would be voluntarily sent to Single-A on a non-rehab assignment, it’s because the Jays are trying to limit his innings. The 24-year-old hadn’t thrown more than 133 1/3 innings in a season coming into 2016, but he’s already at 156 1/3 with the Jays this year. Unsurprisingly, Sanchez didn’t actually pitch in a game while in Dunedin.

Sanchez enters Wednesday night’s start, a 7:05 PM EDT matchup against the Orioles’ Yovani Gallardo at Camden Yards, with a 12-2 record, a 2.99 ERA, and a 132/46 K/BB ratio. The Jays own a two-game lead in the AL East with a 75-57 record. The O’s are three games back in third place. Though there’s more than a month left, this will be a very important start for Sanchez and the Jays.

The rest of Wednesday evening’s action…

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Los Angeles Angels (Ricky Nolasco), 7:05 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) @ Baltimore Orioles (Yovani Gallardo), 7:05 PM EDT

Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Adam Morgan), 7:05 PM EDT

Miami Marlins (David Phelps) @ New York Mets (Bartolo Colon), 7:10 PM EDT

Minnesota Twins (Pat Dean) @ Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 7:10 PM EDT

San Diego Padres (Paul Clemens) @ Atlanta Braves (Matt Wisler), 7:10 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Pirates (Ryan Vogelsong) @ Chicago Cubs (Jason Hammel), 8:05 PM EDT

Los Angeles Dodgers (Rich Hill Bud Norris) @ Colorado Rockies (Jeff Hoffman), 8:10 PM EDT [Game Two]

St. Louis Cardinals (Luke Weaver) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Matt Garza), 8:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees (Luis Cessa) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 8:15 PM EDT

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: