Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are “working hard” to trade Sonny Gray.
This is not exactly news inasmuch as they’ve been said to want to move Gray all offseason, but now that they have signed Adam Ottavino, the desire to get rid of Gray is even greater in that doing so will save them some dough. Ottavino is going to make around $9 million next season. Gray is due $7.5 million in 2019.
The Yankees have certainly handled Gray oddly this winter, saying loud and clear that they want him gone, then saying, once CC Sabathia required a heart procedure, that they’d consider keeping him if Sabathia’s recovery were somehow delayed. Not exactly leverage-creating behavior, nor is it any kind of a vote of confidence in Gray in the off chance that they end up going to camp with him in tow. “We didn’t want you, Sonny, but eh, stuff happens, ya know?”
At any rate, a change of scenery would probably be best for Gray. He posted a disappointing 4.90 ERA in 23 starts and seven relief appearances last year, but he’s not that far removed from being an effective starter and, at 29, he still stands a decent chance of bouncing back to respectability.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.