KTSP TV’s Darren Wolfson reported earlier today that the Twins and free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson have had “darn near daily dialogue.” Donaldson apparently likes the idea of hitting against AL Central pitching as opposed to that in the NL East, where he spent last season with the Braves.
Last week, we learned that Donaldson has multiple four-year contract offers on the table. The Twins are among those having made the offer, along with the Braves and Nationals.
The Twins are set at third base with Miguel Sanó and at DH with Nelson Cruz, but that won’t stop them from adding a star player. Sanó could conceivably move across the diamond to first base.
Donaldson signed a one-year deal $23 million deal with the Braves in November 2018, hoping to bounce back from an injury-shortened season. He did just that, batting .259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI in 659 plate appearances for the Braves, helping them win the NL East for a second consecutive season. Baseball Reference credited him as being worth 6.1 Wins Above Replacement. Provided he stays healthy, whoever winds up landing Donaldson will be getting a quality player to say the least.
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.