Report: Players to get a full year of service time for games played in 2020

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have reached a tentative agreement in which all players who remain active throughout the coming season, whatever its length, will receive a full year of service time.

There is not an agreement about how much service time the players would receive if the pandemic leads to the cancellation of the entire season. Rosenthal says that, “both sides desire to play as many games as possible in 2020,” and that they have tabled discussion of what to do in case no games are played.” Hoping for the best, it seems.

The sides continue to talk about what to do about money. As we discussed last week, the uniform player contract, which contains all of the boilerplate applicable to every player, specifically allows teams to suspend contracts during a “national emergency.” Rosenthal says that the league, however, has not taken that aggressive a stance, and at one point offered a lump-sum advance of around $150 million to be paid to players on 40-man rosters, which breaks down to something north of $125,000 per player. The league’s proposal provides that players would keep their advance money even if the season resumes, but the league wants an agreement from players that they would not come back and sue for their full salaries later. As he said, talks continue.

There is still no word about a possible schedule. The league is following CDC recommendations that advise against gatherings of 50 or more people before May 10. Some sources inside baseball have said that it would take about a month for the league to gear back up to being game-ready, so the earliest one can imagine games taking place is mid-June. Rosenthal says that, in light of that, players and owners are discussing are talking about scheduled doubleheaders, the reduction of days off, and the extension of the regular season past its currently-scheduled final day of September 27.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.