David O’Brien of The Athletic reports the Braves have made a four-year offer to third baseman Josh Donaldson. If that’s accurate, it would not seem that Donaldson has three four-year offers on the table, with the Nationals and Twins also reportedly having done so.
It’s no secret that the Braves want Donaldson back after his excellent 2019 campaign. Last year Atlanta signed Donaldson to what was, essentially, a high-priced make-good deal, agreeing to a one-year, $23 million pact. There was risk there, of course, as Donaldson had missed much of the previous two seasons with injury and there was no guarantee that he’d be healthy in 2019. But he made good, hitting .259/.369/.509 with 37 homers and 94 RBI over 155 games. His bat and his still-excellent glove were huge reasons the Braves were able to repeat as NL East champions.
Having shown he’s still a high-caliber performer has, obviously piqued other teams’ interest as well. The Nats are looking to replace Anthony Rendon. The Twins would have to shuffle the defense around a bit as they have Miguel Sanó at third and Nelson Cruz owning the DH slot, but for a talent like Donaldson you get the guy and then figure it out. The most likely move would be putting Sanó at first base.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.