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Report: Orioles considering Hanley Ramirez

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The Orioles are reportedly considering free agent infielder Hanley Ramirez, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The report was later confirmed by the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who says general manager Dan Duquette mentioned the signing was “under consideration.” That doesn’t necessarily mean a deal is imminent, however, especially as the Orioles already have a plethora of first base/designated hitter types at their disposal.

Helping matters: Rosenthal adds that there’s a shared history between Duquette and Ramirez, as the GM orchestrated Ramirez’s four-year, $88-million deal with the Red Sox back in 2014 and has an idea of what the slugger brings to the table. After a four-year run with the Sox, the 34-year-old first baseman was released on Friday in order to clear roster space for the now-injured Dustin Pedroia. He’s batting a modest .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and a .708 OPS in 195 plate appearances this year.

Even assuming Ramirez continued to improve on those numbers, there’s still the question of Baltimore’s first base/DH logjam. Chris Davis is the presumed starter at first, despite his career-worst .152 average and -1.7 fWAR. Mark Trumbo, Danny Valencia, and Pedro Alvarez have been trading off DH duties in the meantime, and both Trumbo and Valencia are hitting at a fair clip above Ramirez, too. On the other hand, the Orioles likely won’t be the only team interested in the veteran infielder this year, so Ramirez may not want to jump at the first offer he gets.

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.