Last night a report emerged that a Houston Astros employee was removed from the area around the dugout at Fenway Park by security after he was seen using a small camera and texting frequently. The suggestion being that he was spying on the Red Sox’ dugout. Later in the evening a report came out that the Indians complained about similar behavior during the ALDS.
While it has not been established if the Astros were doing anything against the rules, the two incidents raised questions about sign stealing or other forms of electronic eavesdropping.
Last night MLB issued a brief statement saying that the matter “will be handled internally” and offered no other details. A few minutes ago, however, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that a further statement will be issued by MLB today but that “no fine or penalty will be issued at this time.”
Again, whether that means that nothing was done wrong or whether it’s going to be a statement about the need for “more investigation” or something is unknown.
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.