The Rangers signed free agent pitcher Doug Fister on Sunday afternoon, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $4 million with a club option for the 2019 season. Jon Morosi reports that the Rangers are still on the hunt for pitching, showing “sustained interest” in free agents Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn.
Adding a pitcher like Cobb or Lynn would help solidify the Rangers’ rotation behind Cole Hamels. As it stands, the Rangers’ rotation behind Hamels would include Martin Perez, Nick Martinez, A.J. Griffin, and someone from the minor leagues.
Cobb, 30, finished the 2017 season 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA and a 128/44 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings.
Lynn, 30, went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA and a 153/78 K/BB ratio in 186 1/3 innings. It was a necessary performance for him after missing the 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery.
The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.
Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.
Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.