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Red Sox: Bill James ‘not an employee nor does he speak for the club’

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The latest word — and I suspect final word — in the Bill James Twitter controversy was just had. It came from the Boston Red Sox, for whom James works.

To remind you, James last night called players overpaid and, when it was suggested that some were underpaid, he sarcastically said “my heart bleeds for them.” He went on to say “If the players all retired tomorrow, we would replace them, the game would go on; in three years it would make no difference whatsoever . . . The players are NOT the game, any more than the beer vendors are.”

The players union issued a statement condemning James’ comments this morning. A few minutes ago the Red Sox followed suit:

That’s exactly what you would expect the Red Sox to say. Even if, as I suspect, James and the Red Sox are more aligned regarding their opinions about player value than their public positions would indicate. Like I mentioned earlier today, James’ transgression was not a case of a member of management holding a view of workers that is appalling, it’s that he said it out loud.

The players know the owners would, if they could, replace them with low-paid replacements. The owners know that, practically speaking, they cannot do that, because the product would stink and people would stop showing up. As such, they don’t say things like James says because to do so would only serve to antagonize people.

Anyway: back to a free agent market which hasn’t seen any major free agents sign yet.

Report: Astros, Ryan Pressly close to agreement on two-year, $17.5 million extension

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Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Astros and reliever Ryan Pressly are close to finalizing a two-year, $17.5 million contract extension, which will also include a third-year vesting club option. Rome notes that the extension is believed to be the largest, in terms of both total money and average annual value, for a reliever who is not a closer.

Pressly, 30, agreed to a $2.9 million salary for the 2019 season back in January, avoiding arbitration in his final year of eligibility. The Astros acquired Pressly from the Twins near the end of July in exchange for a pair of minor leaguers. Pressly posted a 3.40 ERA in 47 2/3 innings with the Twins and a 0.77 ERA in 23 1/3 innings with the Astros. In the playoffs, Pressly allowed just one run on one hit and three walks with seven strikeouts across five innings of work.

Along with Héctor Rondón, Pressly will once again help bridge the gap to closer Roberto Osuna.