There’s no baseball but teams are still manipulating service time

milb 2020 season cancelled
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There may be no baseball being played but some teams are still doing what they do best: taking advantage of powerless minor leaguers and manipulating service time.

That’s the report from Kyle Glaser of Baseball America, whose sources tell him that “at least four teams were offering undrafted amateur players — and a few recently drafted players — contracts that begin in the 2021 season rather than in 2020.

This is a change from the usual practice in which players taken in the June draft, or who sign immediately after the draft, are given contracts for the current year, which starts their minor league service time running. That service time, in turn, dictates when they become eligible for the Rule 5 draft or when they become minor league free agents who can command higher salaries. By starting their contracts running next year — while still maintaining rights to the players this year — the teams who ink these deals are gaining an additional year of control over the players and are reducing the pressure on themselves to promote players lest they lose the benefits of their services.

One might say, “hey wait, but there’s no baseball yet this year, and there likely will be no minor league baseball at all! So of course the deals should start next year!” Nah, not buying it. The teams still have control over the player in 2020, the player who signs or who is drafted is still restricted from seeking another team to play for, and, in all likelihood, the player will still be subject to instruction and training of some sort in 2020, be it at a team facility or under orders from a team to pursue certain conditioning activities at home.

So this is a power grab by teams. The wrestling away of yet another year after they already control these young men for many years as it is. It’s service time manipulation, pure and simple.

New bill to build Athletics stadium on Las Vegas Strip caps Nevada’s cost at $380 million

D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

CARSON CITY, Nev. — A bill introduced in the Nevada Legislature would give the Oakland Athletics up to $380 million for a potential 30,000 seat, $1.5 billion retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.

The bulk of the public funding would come from $180 million in transferable tax credits from the state and $120 million in county bonds, which can vary based on interest rate returns. Clark County also would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The A’s have been looking for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. The team had sought to build a stadium in Fremont, San Jose and finally the Oakland waterfront, all ideas that never materialized.

The plan in the Nevada Legislature won’t directly raise taxes. It can move forward with a simply majority vote in the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little more than a week to consider the proposal before they adjourn June 5, though it could be voted on if a special session is called.

The Athletics have agreed to use land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has said he is disappointed the team didn’t negotiate with Oakland as a “true partner.”

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises.

The team and Las Vegas are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit the city annually to help fill the stadium. The 30,000-seat capacity would make it the smallest MLB stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ prospective move to Las Vegas could take place when owners meet June 13-15 in New York.

The plan faces an uncertain path in the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders said financing bills, including for the A’s, may not go through if Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo vetoes the five budget bills, which he has threatened to do as many of his priorities have stalled or faded in the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Under the bill, the Clark County Board of Commissioners would create a homelessness prevention and assistance fund along the stadium’s area in coordination with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. There, they would manage funds for services, including emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, rehabilitation and counseling services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be up for renewal after 30 years.

Nevada’s legislative leadership is reviewing the proposal, Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in a statement.

“No commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members,” Yeager said.