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Rays to renew Blake Snell at only $573,700

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays are going to renew Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell for $573,700 for the 2019 season. That means Snell will make only $15,500 more than he made last season. The minimum salary for 2018 is $555,000, up $10,000 from last year.

Such moves are not uncommon for pre-arbitration players like Snell. Players with less than three years of service time have no leverage whatsoever and the clubs can play them whatever they want as long as it’s not below the minimum salary.

That said, it’s also not unheard of for clubs to give pre-arb players higher salaries for exceptional performance. For example, the Cubs paid Kris Bryant $1.05 million following his MVP-winning 2016 season despite the fact he was not yet arbitration-eligible. Snell, of course, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2018, winning a major league-best 21 games with only five losses and posted an AL-best 1.89 ERA with 221 strikeouts and 64 walks in 180.2 innings.

The salary structure, as provided by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, gives total free agency to players with more than six years of service time, some moderate amounts of leverage to players with 3-6 years of service time thanks to arbitration, and no leverage at all to guys, like Snell, in their first three seasons. Yet, because teams have emphasized youth so much in recent years, it is lowest-paid players who provide the most value to teams through their production, upsetting the expectations created by the salary structure. It’s thus a broken system that the players must attempt to rectify through negotiation going forward.

But just because the Rays can be this stingy with their ace doesn’t mean that it’s right for them to do so. Nor does it mean that they should. It’s, quite frankly, a cheap and low-rent move. They should do better by their players, especially their superstars.

Video reviews overturn 42% rate; Boston most successful

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NEW YORK (AP) Video reviews overturned 42.4% of calls checked during Major League Baseball’s shortened regular season, down slightly from 44% in 2019.

Boston was the most successful team, gaining overturned calls on 10 of 13 challenges for 76.9%. The Chicago White Sox were second, successful on eight of 11 challenges for 72.7%, followed by Kansas City at seven of 10 (70%).

Pittsburgh was the least successful at 2 of 11 (18.2%), and Toronto was 7 of 25 (28%).

Minnesota had the most challenges with 28 and was successful on nine (32.1%). The New York Yankees and Milwaukee tied for the fewest with nine each; the Yankees were successful on five (55.6%) and the Brewers three (33.3%).

MLB said Tuesday there were 468 manager challenges and 58 crew chief reviews among 526 total reviews during 898 games. The average time of a review was 1 minute, 25 seconds, up from 1:16 the previous season, when there 1,186 manager challenges and 170 crew chief reviews among 1,356 reviews during 2,429 games.

This year’s replays had 104 calls confirmed (19.8%), 181 that stood (34.4%) and 223 overturned. An additional 12 calls (2.3%) were for rules checks and six (1.1%) for recording keeping.

In 2019 there were 277 calls confirmed (12.5%), 463 that stood (34.1%) and 597 overturned. An additional nine calls (0.7%) were for rules checks and 10 (0.7%) for record keeping.

Expanded video review started in 2014.