According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Nationals have placed catcher Derek Norris on waivers, likely with the intent to release him. Rumors of the catcher’s release cropped up earlier in the month after it became apparent that the club would have little success trading him before the start of the season.
Norris, 28, slashed a mere .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016. His career .233 average and .689 OPS are little better, and with Matt Wieters, Jose Lobaton and Pedro Severino on the books, it’s no surprise that the Nationals would rather eat 30 days of Norris’ termination pay than convince a trade partner to take on the $4.2 million he would otherwise be owed.
Heyman adds that Norris could find a potential landing place with the Royals, who might be in the market for a backup catcher after Salvador Perez was involved in a brutal collision during Saturday’s Venezuela-Italy match at the World Baseball Classic. An MRI revealed no structural damage to Perez’s knee, but there’s no word yet on how much time the catcher is expected to miss while he waits for the inflammation to subside.
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.