during the MLB game at Chase Field on July 1, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Rangers acquire Cory Gearrin, Austin Jackson from Giants

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The Rangers executed a multi-player swap with the Giants on Sunday, acquiring right-handed reliever Cory Gearrin, outfielder Austin Jackson, and pitching prospect Jason Bahr in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Bahr is expected to report to High-A Down East, while right-handed relievers Matt Bush (right elbow strain) and Tony Barnette (strained right lat muscle) will be placed on the 60-day disabled list in order to make room for Gearrin and Jackson on the 40-man roster.

Gearrin, 32, hasn’t yet been able to replicate the sub-2.00 ERA and career-high 64 strikeouts that characterized his 2017 run with the Giants. At the start of the 2018 season, he moved into a setup role within the bullpen and delivered a 4.20 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 9.6 SO/9 through his first 30 innings of the year. After making just over $1.6 million in 2018, the right-hander is slated to enter arbitration in 2019 and will hit free agency by 2020.

The 31-year-old Jackson is also seeing something of a regression this year. After turning in a .318 average and 1.9 fWAR with the Indians in 2017, the outfielder signed a two-year, $6 million deal with the Giants in advance of the 2018 season and batted .242/.309/.295 with eight doubles and a .604 OPS through 165 plate appearances. He’s still in line to receive another $3 million in 2019 and, like Gearrin, can test the market in 2020 — though, as Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News points out, GM Jon Daniels reportedly told the outfielder to “hold off on reporting” to the club and may try to flip him sooner rather than later.

The Rangers will also add some pitching depth to their farm system with 23-year-old reliever Jason Bahr, who was ranked no. 27 of 30 among the Giants’ top prospects earlier this year. Bahr made his first jump to High-A ball in 2018, issuing three runs on 12 hits and two walks and recording 15 strikeouts in just 16 innings.

While the Giants’ compensation in the trade has yet to be revealed, they’ll reap some immediate benefits from the deal. The moves cleared two roster spots for top outfield prospect Steven Duggar (no. 3) and pitching prospect Ray Black (no. 28), both of whom are now well-positioned to step into significant roles with the team. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Rangers are also prepared to pony up the cash for the remainder of Austin Jackson’s $6 million salary in 2018-19, giving the Giants some additional wiggle room under the $197 million luxury-tax threshold.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.

Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.

Scherzer’s statement:

After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.

Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.

Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.