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Brewers avoid arbitration with Corey Knebel

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The Brewers announced on Tuesday that the club and reliever Corey Knebel agreed on a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration. The terms of the contract are not yet known.

Knebel, 28, was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $5.125 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility. The right-hander missed the entire 2019 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. It is unlikely he will be ready for the start of the 2020 regular season.

Knebel had a career year in 2017, pitching in a league-high 76 games while posting a 1.78 ERA with 39 saves, and 126 strikeouts over 76 innings. He followed it up with a solid 2018 campaign, saving 16 games with a 3.58 ERA and 88 strikeouts over 55 1/3 innings.

The Brewers have a ton of work to do this offseason. Getting Knebel back in the first half pitching effectively will be a huge boon to the team.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.