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Yankees make radical changes to their training staff


One of the biggest stories of the 2019 season was just how many dang injuries they endured. And not just around the edges. Tons of important players were gone for months on end.

The fact that they still won 103 games and the AL East despite that was maybe even a bigger story, but it doesn’t make those injuries any less problematic. Maybe they go farther in the postseason if they’re not as banged up? Certainly they can’t expect to overcome those kinds injuries again, right? It’s just not probable.

So you should not be surprised, then, that the Yankees just did a radical overhaul of their training staff. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reports:

The Yankees have hired Eric Cressey, a well known and highly sought-after performance coach, to oversee their training and strength-and-conditioning departments, sources told The Athletic. As part of an overhaul that will include new hires by Cressey, the Yankees will also transition longtime athletic trainer Steve Donohue to a status akin to trainer emeritus, though it’s expected he will remain involved with the club.

Adler reports that the Yankees will likewise promote assistant athletic trainer Michael Schuk to head trainer.

Adler notes that Cressey runs a business, Cressey Sports Performance, which already works with many ballplayers. The interesting thing here: he’ll continue to run that business and to work with non-Yankees. This is the second example of such a move this offseason, as the Reds recently hired Kyle Boddy of Driveline Baseball as the organization’s head pitching coordinator while allowing him to keep his business. In this it’s like a regular business giving a consultant an in-house office, basically. More than a contractor, less than a regular employee.

Obviously the specifics of training and athlete health are way above my pay grade, so who knows how all of this works out. Some injuries are no doubt a function of bad training. Others are no doubt a function of bad luck. Knowing which is which is beyond my or the common fan’s ken.

The Yankees, however, should be applauded for switching things up as radically as this. They’re not an organization known for that kind of thing, really.

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.