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Reds break up Cardinals’ no-hit bid in eighth inning

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Update (9:30 PM ET): Jordan Hicks relieved Poncedeleon to start the bottom of the eighth inning. He got Adam Duvall to pop up, but Phillip Ervin then ripped a line drive single up the middle to break up the no-hit bid.

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Cardinals starter Daniel Poncedeleon made his major league debut on Monday night against the Reds in Cincinnati. He’s pitched quite well, holding the Reds hitless through seven innings. The right-hander has walked three and struck out three on 116 pitches. The high pitch count makes it highly unlikely Poncedeleon will be allowed to finish his no-hit bid.

The Cards’ offense gave Poncedeleon a run of support in the top of the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Yadier Molina. Reds starter Luis Castillo has otherwise pitched quite well himself.

At Triple-A Memphis, Poncedeleon posted a 2.15 ERA with 103 strikeouts and 48 walks in 92 innings. He was selected by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2014 draft. MLB Pipeline rated him as the No. 30 prospect in the Cardinals’ system.

A Cardinals pitcher hasn’t thrown a no-hitter since Bud Smith held the Padres hitless on September 3, 2001. The Reds were last no-hit on April 21, 2016 by Jake Arrieta, then with the Cubs. This season has seen three no-nos from James Paxton and Sean Manaea, as well as a combined no-hitter by four Dodger pitchers — Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore.

We’ll keep you updated as Poncedeleon and likely the bullpen attempt to navigate the final two innings. I usually use the phrase “navigate the final X innings” when I write these no-hit bid updates, but this time it certainly feels right. Juan Ponce de León was an explorer for Spain who lived between 1474-1521.

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: