The Red Sox made a couple of additions at the trade deadline, acquiring infielder Eduardo Nunez from the Giants and reliever Addison Reed from the Mets. But they didn’t make any huge splashes.
It’s possible there were no huge splashes that made sense for them, but it’s also the case, Sean McAdam of Boston Sports Journal reports, that Sox ownership told Dombrowski at the deadline that he was not to touch the top of the farm system. Dombrowski has denied this.
Dombrowski has a reputation for a big deal, but in Detroit those big deals — however well they turned out at the big league level — served to deplete the Tigers farm system. Since coming to Boston Dombrowski has continued the trend, dealing for Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz. The Sox — if you believe McAdam’s sources — told Dombrowski that enough was enough and that, though winning now is clearly the goal, it should not come at the expense of winning later too.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball has rejected the MLBPA’s proposal for a 114-game season and said it would not send a counter offer. The league said it has started talks with owners “about playing a shorter season without fans, and that it is ready to discuss additional ideas with the union.”
This should be understood as a game of chicken.
The background here is that the the owners are pretty much locked into the idea of paying players a prorated share of their regular salaries based on number of games played. The players, meanwhile, are pretty much locked in to the idea that the owners can set the length of the season that is played. Each side is trying to leverage their power in this regard.
The players proposed a probably unworkable number of games — 114 — as a means of setting the bidding high on a schedule that will work out well for them financially. Say, a settled agreement at about 80 games or so. The owners were rumored to be considering a counteroffer of a low number of games — say, 50 — as a means of still getting a significant pay cut from the players even if they’re being paid prorata. What Rosenthal is now reporting is that they won’t even counter with that.
Which is to say that the owners are trying to get the players to come off of their prorated salary rights under the threat of a very short schedule that would end up paying them very little. They won’t formally offer that short schedule, however, likely because (a) they believe that the threat of uncertain action is more formidable; and (b) they don’t want to be in the position of publicly demanding fewer baseball games, which doesn’t look very good to fans. They’d rather be in the position of saying “welp, the players wouldn’t talk to us about money so we have no choice, they forced us into 50 games.”
In other news, the NBA seems very close to getting its season resumed.