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Nationals to call up Jonny Venters

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Yesterday the Washington Nationals called up Fernando Rodney. Today they continued their commitment to building the best bullpen of 2011 by calling up Jonny Venters.

Venters signed a minor league deal with the Nats last month after he flamed out in nine ineffective appearances with the Braves. Since then he’s done alright, posting a 1.29 ERA over nine appearances in Double-A. How that translates to the bigs is an open question but (a) he walked six batters in seven innings in the minors; and (b) his post-multiple-surgeries ceiling suggests that, at best, he’ll be moderately useful in limited situations. Which is to say, sure, why not see if he’s got anything, but let’s not pretend he, or Rodney for that matter, represents the big bullpen fix the Nats need.

Still, it’s fun. It’s a reminder that, even if we’re in an alleged Golden Age of Bullpens,™ most teams are still spinning their wheels and farting around when it comes to relief pitchers.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.