On Wednesday evening, Rays starter Blake Snell was named the winner of the American League Cy Young Award. The Mets’ Jacob deGrom won the honor in the National League.
Snell, 25, had an outstanding season, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. He was a consensus top-20 prospect leading into the 2016 season and pitched reasonably well in his first two seasons in the majors. In 2018, he went 21-5 with a 1.89 ERA and a 221/64 K/BB ratio in 180 2/3 innings. Snell’s 21 wins led all of baseball and his 1.89 ERA led the AL.
Coincidentally, Snell was randomly selected to be drug-tested on Friday, he said on Thursday afternoon:
Snell isn’t the first player to call into question the supposed randomness of MLB’s drug-testing program. Earlier this year, Snell’s former teammate, outfielder Carlos Gómez, said that he doesn’t believe it’s random and, in fact, targets older players and Latin players. Brewers 1B/OF Eric Thames was repeatedly drug-tested after getting off to a blistering start in 2017. He chose to laugh at his situation and said he doesn’t believe the selection is random.
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.