According to Rangers manager Jeff Banister, right-hander Bartolo Colon is headed to the bullpen to finish out the remainder of the 2018 season. Reliever Adrian Sampson, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Round Rock earlier this week, will pick up Colon’s next scheduled start against the Angels on Tuesday.
Colon, 45, is nearing the end of his 21st campaign in the majors. While he’s made some improvements from his performance last year — most noticeably, bringing his ERA below 6.00 and lowering his walk rate — he hasn’t seen back-to-back quality starts since early July and appears to be running on fumes at this point. Following a 9-3 loss to the Angels on Wednesday, the veteran right-hander has gone 7-12 in 24 starts with a 5.55 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 5.1 SO/9 through 144 1/3 innings this season.
Given that Colon’s one-year, $1.75 million contract with the team is set to expire at the end of the year, his shift to the bullpen doesn’t come as a total surprise. He’s repeatedly stated that he intends to return to the majors in 2019, though a minor league deal may be more realistic unless he proves especially efficient out of the ‘pen.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.