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Chris Archer, Adam Ottavino speak out about All-Star Game snubs


The 2018 All-Star Game rosters were just announced. One of the obvious snubs is Rays starter Blake Snell. The 25-year-old lefty sports a 12-4 record with a league-best 2.09 ERA along with 132 strikeouts and 44 walks in 116 innings. Snell wasn’t given on the American League roster nor was he included among the five candidates in the Final Vote.

Snell’s rotation-mate Chris Archer took to Instagram to protest the lefty’s exclusion:

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Such a JOKE. @snellzilla4 IS AN ALL STAR.

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Archer also posted a video in which he said:

Guys, I have an issue. My teammate, my close friend Blake Snell was not a unanimous selection for the All-Star Game. That’s a joke. Something like that can’t happen. He leads the league in ERA. That means he’s given up the fewest amount of runs per nine innings out of any starting pitcher in the league. Now, there’s a way that he can get in as an alternate or replacement or a backup, but he’s not that. He should be in the running to start the game. He’s extremely talented. He’s been doing it all year. There’s no reason that this should happen. Players, coaches, managers: we have to do a better job with the selection process so we can put the best talent out on the field for the fans in the Midsummer Classic. If you didn’t have him on your ballot, I hope that next year you take it a little bit more serious and put in the due diligence ’cause this is important.

Astros starter Justin Verlander backed up Archer’s complaint on Twitter, saying, “Also, because we vote waaay too early. Could easily punch in our votes on an iPad a couple days before instead of the old school envelope weeks before.”

On the National League side of things, Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino was one of a handful of snubs. The 32-year-old right-hander carries a 1.79 ERA with a 63/16 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. However, Ottavino’s exclusion is more understandable because he only ranks 13th among qualified NL relievers in ERA. Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress was also snubbed and he leads all NL relievers with a 1.05 ERA. Among those 13, Edubray Ramos, Yoshihisa Hirano, Kyle Barraclough, Jared Hughes, Kirby Yates, Tony Watson, Brandon Morrow, Andrew Chafin, and Arodys Vizcaino were also left off the roster. Can’t bring everyone.

Per Nick Groke of The Athletic, Ottavino said, “I’m not surprised. It’s because I’m on the Rockies. Pitchers don’t get any credit playing for the Rockies.”

Ottavino does have a point. Coors Field is the most hitter-friendly park in baseball and while stats sites like Baseball Reference and FanGraphs make adjustments for park effects, not everyone knows about or cares about adjusting for that. Starter Kyle Freeland was a bigger snub than Ottavino. The lefty has a 3.18 ERA with 88 strikeouts and 37 walks in 110 1/3 innings. While defense-independent stats don’t portray him as a particularly menacing starter, he has more than held his own at Coors Field, putting together a 2.89 ERA at home and 3.38 on the road. Only eight qualified NL starters have a lower ERA and the only one among them not on the NL All-Star roster is the Brewers’ Junior Guerra (2.79). Ottavino has had a terrific season, but if one Rockies pitcher is going to be added to the NL roster, it should be Freeland, not Ottavino.

MLBPA: MLB’s ‘demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected’

Rob Manfred and Tony Clark
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On Thursday evening, the Major League Baseball Players Association released a statement regarding ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. The two sides continue to hash out details concerning a 2020 season. The owners want a shorter season, around 50 games. The union recently proposed a 114-game season that also offered the possibility of salary deferrals.

MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said that the union held a conference call that included the Executive Board and MLBPA player leaders. They “resoundingly rejected” the league’s “demand for additional concessions.”

The full statement:

In this time of unprecedented suffering at home and abroad, Players want nothing more than to get back to work and provide baseball fans with the game we all love. But we cannot do this alone.

Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon.

This threat came in response to an Association proposal aimed at charting a path forward. Among other things, Players proposed more games, two years of expanded playoffs, salary deferrals in the event of a 2020 playoff cancellation, and the exploration of additional jewel events and broadcast enhancements aimed at creatively bringing our Players to the fans while simultaneously increasing the value of our product. Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions.

Earlier today we held a conference call of the Association’s Executive Board and several other MLBPA Player leaders. The overwhelming consensus of the Board is that Players are ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions that could affect the health and safety of not just themselves, but their families as well. The league’s demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected.

Important work remains to be done in order to safely resume the season. We stand ready to complete that work and look forward to getting back on the field.

As per the current agreement signed in March, if there is a 2020 season, players will be paid on a prorated basis. Thus, fewer games means the players get paid less and the owners save more. MLB has threatened to unilaterally set a 2020 season in motion if the two sides cannot come to terms. It should come as no surprise that the union has responded strongly on both fronts.

There have been varying reports in recent days over the confidence in a 2020 season happening. The MLBPA’s statement tonight doesn’t move the needle any; it simply affirms that the union remains steadfast in its goal to avoid a second significant cut in salaries.

As I see it, the ball is in the owners’ court. The owners can strongarm the players into a short season, saving money but significantly increasing the odds of a big fight in upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Or the owners can eat more of a financial loss, agreeing to a longer season than they feel is comfortable. The latter would have the double benefit of not damaging overall perception of the sport and would not disrupt labor peace going forward.

The MLBPA statement included a declaration that the players are “ready to report, ready to get back on the field, and they are willing to do so under unprecedented conditions.” If there is no 2020 season, we will have only the owners to blame, not the players.

Update: Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty, who has been quite vocal on social media about these negotiations, chimed in: