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Nationals sign Starlin Castro

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Washington Nationals have signed free agent infielder Starlin Castro. The deal is pending a physical. It’s reportedly for two years and $12 million.

Castro has played for the Marlins for the past two seasons where he has put up a combined line of .274/.314/.418 with 34 homers. The guy is always in the lineup, having played in all 162 games in 2019 and 154 the year before. He’s solid and dependable, even if you can’t really expect more than what he’s provided over the course of his career.

The plan, it seems, will be to play Castro at second base on a regular basis. At the moment the Nats’ depth chart has Howie Kendrick at first base, though there’s still speculation that Washington will bring Ryan Zimmerman back. Carter Kieboom is still there, obviously, and Rosenthal says that signing Castro does not take them out of the Josh Donaldson sweepstakes.

Which is to say that there are still a lot of moving parts in the Nats’ infield. If nothing else, Dave Martinez is going to have some options.

Max Scherzer: ‘There’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions’

Max Scherzer
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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.

Scherzer’s statement:

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.