The Rundown: MLB Discussions Going Nowhere, Sosa Expects Cubs Reunion, Potential Top Draft Pick Elicits Trout Comparisons

I’m tiring of talking about the negotiations between the league and the players and I’m sure your brain is likewise numb from having to read about it every day. All you need to know is this: In every single proposal by the owners, no matter how many games are played, the league is standing firm at a pay scale that equates to just about 33% of league payroll in a normal season.

If you prefer a deeper dive into the mathematics of each scenario, our EIC Evan Altman offers a full breakdown.

Each proposal by the owners is basically the same, just dressed differently pertaining to the number of games played.

  • 82 games at suggested sliding scale = ~33% salary
  • 50 games at agreed-to prorated pay = ~33% salary
  • 76 games at suggested 75% of prorated pay = ~33% salary

The salary shelf life of professional athletes is unlike any other, especially in baseball. Of course there is a minimum wage, though the top players receive life-changing bonuses once they are drafted and signed. Contracts then get renewed with a minimal increase each year until they reach arbitration, where each can cash in on performances that range from middling to otherworldly. After that, many players get extended or strike it rich in free agency.

Then, as their careers wind down, most have to fight for an opportunity just to play on a non-guaranteed deal, or accept offers at the league minimum, seemingly washed up as they enter their age-34 seasons or later. That doesn’t include the paltry wages paid at the minor league levels.

I know most people side with the players, but a great deal of baseball’s fanbase believes players earn way too much money, and that’s the reason taking their families to a game costs so much money. That’s the lie that owners want you to believe.

The owners’ stubbornness to give up any ground when it comes to player compensation should tell you all you need to know about current negotiations. At the end of the day, 30 league owners will be able to stick it out much longer than the 800+ unionized members of professional baseball. That type of winning-through-attrition represents real labor oppression, no matter the rate of pay involved.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

Nearly 40 former University of Iowa student-athletes had the courage to allege “racial disparities” within the school’s football program, most notably with longtime Hawkeyes strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle. If you’ve ever played organized sports, you understand that attacking a coach or a program, even en masse and even after you’ve graduated, can be a stressful endeavor.

Doyle, who has been with the school for 20 years, was placed on administrative leave this weekend following the accusations. A full independent investigation will analyze every complaint and determine the coach’s future, which could lead to a complete overhaul of the university’s athletic department.

Apropos of Nothing

Do we still get to boo Rob Manfred tonight?

Odds & Sods

I’m sorry, but there is no way in hell I want to stand at the plate with an Aroldis Chapman 100-MPH fastball coming at me while I’m wearing a mask. Nothing should take away from your concentration in that moment.

MLB News & Notes

The players submitted a “good faith proposal” hinging on an 89-game schedule that will likely be rejected by the owners.

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. echoed earlier statements by Tom Ricketts that MLB ownership “isn’t very profitable.”

The Sporting News breaks down the bonus compensation value tied to each draft pick in the first round.

The Angels may have furloughed their scouts, but the organization denied rumors that they will punt with their first round pick, number 10 overall.

Have you ever wondered what MLB draft boards look like?

With just a five-round draft this year, Greg Huss believes a lot of the players who would have been picked in subsequent rounds may flood JUCO baseball so that they will be eligible for next year’s draft. He offered some great draft insight in a conversation with Jon, Evan, and Danny in yesterday’s episode of The Rant.

Spencer Torkelson, expected to be the first overall pick by the Tigers, is drawing comparisons to Mike Trout.

Extra Innings

Don Zimmer was one of my all-time favorite Cubs managers and it is never not Zim-Time, at least in my humble opinion.

Out of Left Field

I have to give Peter Gammons some credit here, not many baseball writers have used the word ‘bouillabaisse’ when describing the rumor mill.

Sliding into Home

Thanks for all the well-wishes yesterday and Monday. My bout with low blood sugar has really sapped my strength and mobility, but I feel as good today as I have since I first became sick. I spent all of yesterday drawing inspiration from George Harrison and Akira Kurosawa, thanks to a wonderful recommendation from reader Torquemada to check out the Criterion Channel.

They Said It

  • “Look, I’m really busy with the draft and I think I just share the sentiments of all baseball fans when saying I’m really hopeful that we have baseball as soon as possible. I know that’s a sentiment that both sides in the negotiation share, so hopefully that will carry the day and we’ll be able to get back on the field as soon as possible.” – Theo Epstein
  • “Hopefully one day it’s gonna happen, but it doesn’t bother me. I just continue living my life. Whatever we have to do, we’ll do it. But I guess we have to wait a little bit longer. I believe that I will be [welcomed back by the Cubs] pretty soon.” – Sammy Sosa

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Pleasant Valley Sunday by The Monkees – If this isn’t the greatest pop song ever it’s certainly in the running. The made-for-TV foursome were slightly out of their swim lane with that distorted guitar ending. Who knows, maybe they inspired The Pixies and other shoegaze indies. Or maybe they simply copied Jimi Hendrix, for whom they opened on their first tour.

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