Chicago White Sox outfield prospect Luis Robert batted .328/.376/.624 with 32 home runs and 36 steals over 122 games in the minors this season. And no, he was not merely some product of the juiced ball in Triple-A as he raked at not just one but three levels this year, playing 47 games at Triple-A and 75 combined between High-A and Double-A.
Yet, even with expanded September rosters, Robert is not going to get a cup-of-coffee in the bigs this year. Why? White Sox general manager Rick Hahn says it’s because Robert played a career-high number of games, had a short offseason due to participating in the Arizona Fall League, and because he jumped two levels.
One always wonders, of course, whether service time manipulation was part of the equation when such a high-profile prospect is involved. What says Hahn?
That’s about as believable as Michael telling Connie and Kay that he had nothing to do with Carlo’s killing, but Hahn’s the boss so it’s not like anyone can do anything about it.
Hahn now has the whole offseason to explain why Robert won’t start the 2020 season with Chicago. It can’t be the old chestnut about defense, because Robert is an outstanding center fielder. I’m gonna go with either (a) “his offseason was too long this year, what with not playing in September, so we’re worried about rust”; or (b) “well, he didn’t have any time in the bigs at the end of last year so we don’t wanna just start him out there to begin the season.”
After which Hahn will start the engine of his IronyMobile and drive away.
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.