Andrew Heaney
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Angels select Andrew Heaney as Opening Day starter

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Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters that Andrew Heaney will be taking the ball on Opening Day. Maddon said that new Angels Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran were also considered, but that Heaney will be first out of the gate because of his long tenure in Los Angeles. He’ll be the first pitcher to face the scandal-wracked Houston Astros in the regular season.

An Angel since 2015, Heaney has generally been effective when he’s been on the mound. Staying on the mound, though, has been a challenge at times. Heaney topped out at 180 innings in 2018, after missing almost all of 2016 and 2017 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He also experienced elbow inflammation last year and was limited to just 95.1 innings.

The success of this year’s version of the Angels will heavily depend on the health and effectiveness of the starting rotation. Los Angeles starters as a group had a 5.64 ERA, worst in the American League and second only to the Rockies for the worst mark in all of baseball. Former top pitching prospect Griffin Canning has already been sidelined with elbow troubles.

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Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.