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Brewers continue to refuse to lose

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A lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans I know were watching today’s Brewers-Reds game from Cincinnati and hoping for a little help from the Redlegs. They didn’t get it. The Brewers won 5-3 — their 18th victory in their last 20 games — and are now one game behind the idle Cardinals in the NL Central with three games left to play for each club.

The Brewers fell behind early on an Aristides Aquino home run but a bases-loaded and bases-clearing double from Orlando Arcia in the fourth put them up 3-1. The next batter up, Ben Gamel, doubled in Arcia to make it 4-1. Manny Piña doubled home a run the following inning and the Reds could only score two more the rest of the way.

That all sets up a three-game remote showdown, with the Brewers heading to Colorado to play three games against the Rockies and the Cardinals playing a three-game series at home against the Cubs.

St. Louis’ magic number to win the division outright is three, meaning any combination of Cardinals wins and Brewers losses that add up to three clinches it for them by Sunday. Anything less than a Cards sweep of the Cubs opens up at least the possibility of a tiebreaker game in St. Louis on Monday or an outright Brewers division title.

Nationals to pay minor leaguers $300 — not $400 — per week through June

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The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.

Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.

Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.