Adam Wainwright speaks up about baseball’s labor issues

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Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright recently did an interview with InsideSTL.com’s Tim McKernan, which made headlines because the right-hander said, “Unless something changes, there’s going to be a strike. 100 percent.” Wainwright added, “I’m just worried people are going to walk out midseason.”

Baseball’s ongoing struggle between labor and ownership has hit a fever pitch recently as the free agent market continues to stagnate. Among players to have spoken up this offseason are Jeff Samardzija, Justin Verlander, Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Evan Longoria, and Buster Posey.

Wainwright took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to expound on his thoughts. Here they are, in chronological order:

Indeed, Wainwright responded to a few people on Twitter who read his series of tweets. This was first:

Wainwright’s comments are thoughtful and worth consideration. Most strikingly, he’s one of the few major leaguers to have directly acknowledged that minor leaguers are severely underpaid and, in fact, exploited. As has been mentioned here, the MLBPA has been happy to ignore this, but fighting for a higher standard of living for minor leaguers would lend credibility when players and agents complain about the likes of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado not getting 10-year contracts worth $300-400 million. Which, by the way, they should.

I appreciated that Wainwright fought back against the thought that player salaries drive ticket prices. It’s a commonly-held belief that is flatly incorrect. Teams set the prices to increase revenues, then when revenues increase, players ask for a commensurate slice of the pie. If player salaries truly drove ticket prices, we would see the cheapest tickets among rebuilding teams, but that hasn’t been the case. For instance, according to CBS News in 2016, Dodger Stadium was among the cheapest places to watch a major league game. The Dodgers had an Opening Day payroll of nearly $250 million that season.

Reliever Brad Brach and first baseman Mark Reynolds also chimed in a bit, talking about their experiences in free agency this offseason.

Hmm.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.