The Detroit Tigers signed two players today. The weird part: they’re actually recognizable major leaguers: C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, both of whom played for the Twins last year. I wasn’t sure the Tigers signed actual big leaguers anymore — their tank job has been one of the more anonymously-staffed numbers in recent memory — but weird things happen every day.
Cron was non-tendered for the second straight year in a row, last year by the Rays, this year by the Twins. In 2019 the nearly 30-year-old first baseman hit .253/.311/.469 with 25 homers and 78 driven in. While that’s not a great line for a contender, it would’ve made him the second-best hitter on the Tigers last year after Nicholas Castellanos. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be Detroit’s everyday first baseman in 2020. He’ll make $6.1 million this year. Last year he made $4.8 million for the Twins.
Schoop — also late of the Twins — had a nearly identical batting line to Cron: .256/.304/.473 while covering second base in 113 contests. Again, the Tigers have themselves a starter given the dearth of players on Schoop’s level at the moment. And while his batting line was just nearly identical to Cron’s, his salary — $6.1 million — will be literally identical.
The Tigers aren’t gonna win a lot of games next season, but they definitely improved themselves with these two signings.
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.