The Houston Astros announced this afternoon that ace Justin Verlander underwent surgery on his groin. His recovery timeline: six weeks. Which, hey, if you have to miss six weeks, now is the time to do it, right?
Verlander had a couple of different health problems this spring, dealing with that groin early on and then dealing with a hurt lat muscle, each causing him to push back or miss starts. It’s not hard to imagine that the lat injury was compensating for the sore groin. Either way, he’s on the shelf now, as is everyone else, with a lot more time to recover from this without missing games than he otherwise would’ve had.
Indeed, he may not have undergone surgery at all if not for the indefinite suspension of the season. The team’s statement said he had been dealing with the groin via rehab, but that he suffered a setback. If the season was nine days away from getting underway as planned, one wonders if they might not have gone back for some more rehab before pulling the trigger.
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.