Max Scherzer
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MLBPA, league discussing methods to fight electronic sign-stealing

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Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich report that MLB and the MLB Players Association are in discussions on new rules to combat electronic sign-stealing. The talks come in the wake of a winter dominated by the revelations that the Astros cheated by using tech to steal signs on their way to winning the 2017 World Series, and widespread speculation that the cheating continued in one way or another into the 2019 season.

Nationals ace Max Scherzer, a prominent figure within the MLBPA and Washington’s union rep, is one of the players taking a leading role in the talks. He spoke with Rosenthal in an interview on MLB Network about the players’ goals for the new rules. Scherzer made it clear that while he takes no issue with players using the video room during games to things like analyze their swings, he has a problem with the implementation of algorithms like the Astros’ Codebreaker system. The three-time Cy Young Award winner also stated that he feels that there are too many cameras on the field.

The discussion of new rules about the proper use of video is a much-needed step for a sport that has seen its credibility damaged by cheating. While the complicated nature of the issue may prevent new rules from going into place before the start of the season, the mere fact that they’re being talked about at all is a plus. Having a universally respected player like Scherzer as the public face of the initiative is also a boon.

Here’s my take. Unless there’s going to be league-appointed hall monitors patrolling every video room at every stadium to ensure that nobody’s doing anything wrong, it may just make the most sense to turn everything off once the games start. Players might complain that they can’t check their arm angles or see if there’s a hitch in their swings, but it’ll stop the nonsense.

This feels like one of those can’t-put-the-toothpaste-back-in-the-tube situations. Scherzer and his team know more about this stuff than I do, but that’s my two cents.

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Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.