Rob Manfred
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Rob Manfred done with Red Sox investigation, hopes to ‘gear back up’ in May

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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred joined ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter on Wednesday night. Manfred said his “optimistic outlook is that at some point in May, we’ll be gearing back up.” It’s worth pointing out that he doesn’t mean having the regular season begin in May; rather, “gearing back up” simply means to resume operations, which would likely include an abbreviated spring training of sorts for players.

The commissioner added that teams will “probably not going to be able to” play 162 games, suggesting the need to be creative with regard to the schedule. That likely refers to previous suggestions such as doubleheaders and having the season run deep into the fall with later games being played at neutral parks in warm-weather locations.

Manfred also mentioned that the league has concluded its investigation into allegations that the Red Sox cheated by stealing signs electronically. However, Manfred said he hasn’t had the time to publish a written report yet, likely due to the league’s ongoing response to the pandemic. He promised to get a report out “before we resume play.”

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.