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Nationals sign Eric Thames to one-year, $4 million deal

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The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli reports that the Nationals have signed free agent first baseman Eric Thames to a contract. Ken Rosenthal, also of The Athletic, adds that it’s a one-year, $4 million deal that includes a $4 million mutual option for the 2021 season.

Thames, 33, hit .247/.346/.505 with 25 home runs and 61 RBI across 459 plate appearances for the Brewers last season. Though he played mostly a full season (149 games), missing time only due to a minor hamstring injury late in the season, Thames shared first base with Jesús Aguilar and Yasmani Grandal.

Thames marks the Nationals’ fourth free agent signing in recent days. The club inked reliever Daniel Hudson earlier today while signing infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera on Saturday, as well as infielder Starlin Castro and reliever Will Harris on Friday.

The Nationals are still expected to work something out with franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman, so it is likely Thames finds himself sharing his playing time at first base once again.

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.