Yesterday the Dodgers became the third team to win 100 games this season. It’s the third straight year that there have been three 100-win teams, so if you don’t pay much attention to history you might think it’s pretty common. Not really. Despite the three-peat in that department it was only the eighth time it’s ever happened in big league history. Before this three-year run it had only happened in 1942, 1977, 1998, 2002 and 2003.
There has never been a year with four 100-win teams, but the Braves (96 wins with five to go), Twins (96 with six to go) and Athletics (94 with six to go) have an outside shot at it.
To get to 100 wins you have to be good, but it sure helps if there are some bad teams around to feed on. And yep, there are a lot of bad teams around. Indeed, 2019 just tied a record for bad teams, in fact, at least to the extent you use 100-losses as a proxy for “bad. With the Royals “earning” their 100th defeat at the hands of the Twins, we now have four 100-loss teams in the bigs this year: the Royals, Tigers, Orioles, and Marlins and that has only happened once, in 2002. That year the Tigers, Brewers, Devil Rays and Royals all lost at least 100.
We won’t break that record — the next biggest loser is Toronto, who has 93 losses but only six games to play — but it’s been quite the year of extremes, that’s for sure.
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.