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Report: Red Sox to sign Kevin Pillar


Jon Heyman reports that the Red Sox are expected to sign free agent outfielder Kevin Pillar. The deal will presumably be of the major league variety.

Pillar, 31, has been a slightly below average hitter throughout his seven-year career. Last year, between the Blue Jays and Giants, he hit .259/.287/.432 with 21 home runs, 88 RBI, 83 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 645 plate appearances. However, Pillar runs the bases well and is a solid defender.

It’s not clear yet exactly how the Red Sox plan to deploy Pillar, but he could share time in right field with Alex Verdugo. The Red Sox also haven’t been shy about shopping Jackie Bradley, Jr. so center field could be Pillar’s if they find a new home for Bradley.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.