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Astros acquire catcher Martín Maldonado from Cubs

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It was just two weeks ago that the Chicago Cubs acquired catcher Martín Maldonado from the Royals. Now, multiple outlets are reporting, the Cubs have flipped Maldonado to the Astros, for whom he played 41 games last year after being picked up at the 2018 deadline. Guess they missed him.

The Cubs got Maldonado to cover for the injured Willson Contreras. Since Contreras is now back in action, Maldonado is expendable. The Astros, for their part, have gotten poor performance from their catchers this year. Maldonado is no great shakes with the bat, but he’s a superior defensive catcher. If your catchers aren’t gonna hit, you may as well get the best non-hitting catchers you can find, right? At least that’s what I assume Houston is thinking.

Jeff Passan reports that utilityman Tony Kemp is headed to the Chicago in exchange for Maldonado.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.