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Major League Baseball issues a statement on Chief Wahoo

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A court in Ontario is hearing arguments today on an attempt to bar the Cleveland Indians from using their team name and Chief Wahoo logo during tonight’s playoff game in Toronto. This based on a legal challenge by indigenous activist and architect Douglas Cardinal, who claims that the logo and team name violate human rights laws in Ontario.

The hearing is ongoing at the moment. Based on the comments coming out of the hearing — in one the judge asked how the game would be played if the Indians were not allowed to wear uniforms with their name and/or the Wahoo logo — it seems likely that the injunction will not be granted. We’ll update you if and when that changes, of course. UPDATE: The judge has dismissed the application for an injunction. The Indians can use their name and logo in tonight’s game.

In the meantime, Major League Baseball has issued a statement about the matter and about Chief Wahoo in general:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the concerns of those that find the name and logo of the Cleveland Indians to be offensive.  We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation. Given the demands for completing the League Championship Series in a timely manner, MLB will defend Cleveland’s right to use their name that has been in existence for more than 100 years.”

It was a ready-made statement that other media outlets are carrying, but I’ll note that it was given to me in that exact form based on specific questions I posed to MLB this afternoon that did not deal specifically with the Ontario litigation. It makes one suspect that Major League Baseball has no desire whatsoever to weigh in on Chief Wahoo one way or the other, despite the fact that it and all of its clubs make money on the racist caricature via MLB’s shared revenue for merchandise sales. And, of course, despite the fact that the Indians and their mascot stand a good chance of representing one of its leagues in baseball’s most important event, the World Series.

Two of 10 players accept $17.8 million qualifying offers

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First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.

The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.