Brendan McKay’s MLB debut was nearly perfect. It’s not often that a pitching prospect can translate superlative minor league results to the majors, but McKay managed to stun the competition there as well, firing 5 1/3 perfect innings in the Rays’ 5-2 win over the Rangers.
After pitching to a pristine 1.08 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, and 9.4 SO/9 in Triple-A Durham, the 23-year-old southpaw was recalled for his first big league gig on Saturday. Against a noisy Rangers’ lineup — one that hadn’t taken a loss in six straight games — McKay delivered five scoreless innings, retiring 13 straight batters before getting his first MLB strikeout in the fifth.
Eventually, however, McKay’s luck ran out. He induced a fly out from Asdrubal Cabrera to start the sixth inning, then watched Danny Santana grab an 0-1 curveball and return it to right field for a single, the Rangers’ first of the game. In the next at-bat, the lefty labored through a nine-pitch battle against Shin-Soo Choo and wound up issuing his first walk of the afternoon, too. By the time he wrapped up his first major-league outing at the end of the sixth, he had one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts under his belt — a little shy of perfect, but hardly shabby for such a highly-anticipated debut.
The Rays, meanwhile, supplemented the rookie’s efforts with an RBI double from Joey Wendle and a handful of home runs from Avisaíl García, Willy Adames, and Travis d'Arnaud. The win boosted them to a 47-36 record, still good for second place in the AL East and a full seven games behind the first-place Yankees.
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.