The Rays are rumored to be one of the “new teams” in on veteran catcher Matt Wieters, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. It’s no secret that Wieters’ market is shrinking as the offseason wears on, which has most often been attributed to his declining offense over the past two years, lingering elbow injuries and a high price tag.
Earlier this month, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal spoke to Wieters’ agent, Scott Boras, who revealed that the veteran backstop lacerated his left forearm with a glass water bottle in November. Boras added that there was no nerve damage to Wieters’ arm, but the injury could give teams some pause as they consider making a contract offer in 2017.
Heyman also speculates that the Rays will be something of a long shot for Wieters, especially after they committed a two-year, $12.5 million contract to fellow veteran catcher Wilson Ramos last December. Ramos is expected to miss the first month of the season as he recovers from knee surgery and could ease back into catching duties after spending some time at DH in May. While that appears to leave an open door for Wieters, the club has a platoon option available in 28-year-old Curt Casali and 26-year-old Luke Maile.
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.