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Giants’ Rule 5 pick Julian Fernandez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Giants minor league reliever Julian Fernandez is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. The club selected Fernandez from the Rockies with their second pick in the Rule 5 Draft this past December and were hoping to advance him through their farm system over the 2018 season. Instead, the 22-year-old landed on the 60-day disabled list after getting diagnosed with a right UCL strain last week.

The young right-hander has already spent five seasons in the minors after signing with the Rockies out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. He last appeared with the Rockies’ Single-A affiliate in 2017 and finished the year with a 3.26 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 through 58 innings. This appears to be the first major surgery of his professional career to date.

Given that Fernandez will need to remain on the major league disabled list for the foreseeable future, he’ll also accumulate a year of service time and receive a league-minimum $545,000 salary during his lengthy recovery process. Per Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic, that extra $500,000+ will count against the Giants’ $197 million luxury tax threshold. Were it not for the unique circumstances of the right-hander’s injury, it seems unlikely that the team would have parted with the money at all, even for a triple-digit-tossing Rule 5 pick with an impressive (if inconsistent) track record in the minors.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.