Tampa Bay Rays

Rays’ prospect’s wife, child killed in triple homicide

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Awful, awful news: the wife and infant child of Rays’ pitching prospect Blake Bivens were killed in a triple homicide in Virginia yesterday. His wife’s mother was also killed. The 18-year-old brother of his wife was arrested following a brief manhunt and has been charged with all three killings.

Bivens, a pitcher with the Rays’ Double-A affiliate, the Montgomery Biscuits, was with his team, which was poised to play the Chattanooga Lookouts in a doubleheader, which was subsequently canceled in light of the news. The Rays issued a statement:

“Our hearts are broken for Blake. We are grieving with him and will support him any way we can. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of the Bivens family and the Biscuits family during this extremely difficult time.”

The Biscuits’ team CEO also issued a statement:

“Earlier today, we learned that one of our players, Blake Bivens, suffered unimaginable loss. First and foremost, the Biscuits’ thoughts and prayers are with Blake and all those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

Bivens, 24, was a fourth round pick of the Rays in the 2014 draft.

 

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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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.