Astros outfielder George Springer is on absolute fire. Since April 30 and prior to Sunday afternoon’s game against the Rangers, Springer was batting .381 with five homers and 11 RBI in 51 plate appearances. Of those five homers, two led off the Astros’ half of the first inning.
Springer kept it going on Sunday, belting a leadoff home run to left field in the bottom of the first inning off of Adrian Sampson. That marked Springer’s 29th career leadoff home run and his third in just the last week. In just his sixth season, he is more than halfway to Craig Biggio’s Astros record of 53 leadoff dingers. Springer would hit successfully in his next three trips to the plate as well, adding an RBI single in the second, and two more singles in the fourth and fifth innings. [Update: Springer hit a two-run homer in the sixth to boost the Astros’ lead to 15-3. He’s 5-for-5 on the afternoon.]
Springer has a long way to go if he wants to get the all-time record for leadoff homers. Rickey Henderson owns the title with 81. Biggio and Alfonso Soriano are tied for second with 53 each. More importantly, Springer has made himself an early-season MVP candidate, batting .316/.397/.639 with 14 home runs, 35 RBI, 33 runs scored, and four stolen bases in 184 plate appearances.
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.