MLB.com’s Greg Johns reported over the weekend that the Mariners released pitcher Sam Tuivailala. It is, in part, an effort to reduce the number of players needed to report to camp whenever baseball resumes.
Tuivailala, 27, was expected to be a big contributor out of the bullpen. However, he hadn’t yet pitched in spring training due to a right shoulder impingement. The right-hander, earning $800,000 in his first year of arbitration eligibility, shouldn’t have trouble finding an opportunity elsewhere even with the injury.
Tuivailala pitched 23 innings for the Mariners last year, allowing six earned runs on 13 hits and 11 walks with 27 strikeouts. When he has been healthy, he has been solid, but he has only accrued 127 innings in the big leagues across parts of six seasons.
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.