Javier Báez
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Javier Báez, Cubs pause contract extension talks

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ESPN’s Marly Rivera reports that infielder Javier Báez and the Cubs have paused talks of a contract extension while Major League Baseball remains shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two sides began extension talks during spring training, but both Báez and the Cubs have had more important things to worry about in the time since.

Báez, 27, avoided arbitration in his second year of eligibility, agreeing to a $10 million salary for the 2020 season back in January. He has one more year of eligibility remaining before he can potentially enter free agency.

Last season, Báez hit .281/.316/.531 with 29 home runs and 85 RBI over 561 plate appearances. It was a solid season, but a slight step back from 2018, when he finished second in NL MVP voting after belting 34 home runs and leading the league with 111 RBI.

Báez sounds interested in remaining with the Cubs. The Cubs, obviously, are interested in retaining one of the game’s top players and one of its most likeable and marketable players as well. It seems like they should eventually come together on a new contract before it’s too late.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.