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  • Former All-Star Crawford arrested for assault
    By Field Level Media / Friday, June 5, 2020

    Former major league outfielder Carl Crawford was arrested for an alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend, with the incident reportedly taking place in front of the couple's 1-year-old child.

    • According to TMZ Sports, Crawford surrendered to Texas authorities on Thursday and was charged with felony domestic violence.

      The incident reportedly took place on May 8, just over a week before two people, including a child, drowned in a pool at Crawford's Houston home. Crawford was not related to either drowning victim.

      According to police records, Crawford arrived at the home of his ex-girlfriend on May 8, carrying a handgun, and began questioning her about a relationship with a male acquaintance.

      Crawford, 38, is accused of pushing his ex to the ground, forcing her head into a wall and grabbing her by the neck. He was released from Harris County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

      Crawford's attorney, Rusty Hardin, told TMZ Sports his client is innocent. "We strongly deny the charges and the conduct he is alleged to have engaged in. He would never hurt a woman. He has no criminal history," Hardin said.

      Crawford, who played nine of his 15 major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, last played in 2016 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The four-time All-Star was a .290 career hitter with 136 home runs, 766 RBIs and 480 stolen bases.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLBPA chief: Players 'resoundingly rejected' more salary concessions
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 4, 2020

    Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark released a statement Thursday night saying that the players "resoundingly rejected" team owners' demands for more salary concessions.

    • The two sides continue negotiations to find common ground on a path forward to begin the MLB season. However, they reportedly were not close on what a truncated season -- and the economics of a shortened season -- should look like in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

      Clark's statement comes in response to Wednesday's action by the owners, who rejected the union's proposal for a 114-game season, with salary deferrals if the postseason is canceled. The owners, who didn't proffer a counter-proposal, reportedly are mulling a season as shot as 50 games.

      Clark said the union executive board as well as MLBPA player leads convened on a conference call earlier Thursday, resulting in an overwhelming rejection of what they call the league's demands for more concessions.

      "Earlier this week, Major League Baseball communicated its intention to schedule a dramatically shortened 2020 season unless Players negotiate salary concessions. The concessions being sought are in addition to billions in Player salary reductions that have already been agreed upon," Clark said in a statement.

      The MLBPA believes that an agreement between the sides back in March awarded them a prorated portion of their salaries based on games played. The owners believe the same agreement gives them the ability to mandate a shorter season, as well as the ability to further reduce player pay if fans are not in the stands for games.

      "Rather than engage, the league replied it will shorten the season unless Players agree to further salary reductions," Clark said in the statement. "The league's demand for additional concessions was resoundingly rejected."

      The consensus is that a three-week renewal of spring training is needed before a rescheduled Opening Day. If the shortened season were to start on July 1, teams would need to return to a spring training setting by Wednesday.

      MLB originally intended to begin the season on March 26, but spring training was halted March 12 due to the spread of the coronavirus, and teams have yet to reconvene.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: MLB broadcasters to be sidelined on road
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, June 4, 2020

    When, or if, the 2020 Major League Baseball season starts, out-of-town broadcasters will be calling the games from their home cities and not from the ballparks, USA Today reported Thursday.

    • All 30 teams have been told that their radio and television broadcasters must call the games off monitors instead of going on the road, according to the report.

      The MLB directive to call games remotely is expected to extend to national broadcasters, such as ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

      USA Today said broadcasters could travel later in the season, if health and safety requirements are met.

      Calling sports remotely isn't unheard of. It has been done with World Cup games and the Olympics.

      The baseball season was scheduled to start on March 26 but has been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association are struggling to reach an agreement on issues that include the length of season and player pay.

      The format of the season, should it be played, remains up in the air. MLB rejected the 114-game proposal by the players association for the 2020 season, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday.

      The report added that the league does not intend to make a counteroffer for a number of regular-season games, and will discuss additional options with the union. ESPN reported Monday, via sources, that owners considered countering the 114-game proposal with a micro 50-game season.

      The players believe that an agreement reached between the sides in March awarded them a prorated portion of their salaries based on games played. The owners believe the same agreement gives them the ability to mandate a shorter season, as well as the ability to further reduce player pay if fans are not in the stands for games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Brewers GM 'firmly' believes there will be season
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns remains bullish on the baseball season occurring, even as team owners and players continue to squabble over the finances and the format.

    • "From my perspective, despite the Twitter bickering back and forth, and the posturing back and forth, I am optimistic that we are going to play baseball this year," Stearns said Wednesday in a video call with media members.

      "I am optimistic that both sides genuinely want to play baseball this year, that there is a path to doing so, even if it's a shorter season. Even if it's 50 games. I think that is doable, and I think it is needed. I do think both sides recognize how important it is."

      Stearns added, "A lot of times in negotiations there is rhetoric, there is back and forth, but at the end of the day, I firmly believe we're going to have baseball this year. I believe we're going to have a representative regular season; I believe we're going to have a postseason."

      Major League Baseball shut down spring training in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the potential timeframe for Opening Day and season's length remain a contentious debate.

      Team owners last week proposed an 82-game regular season, accompanied by a severe pay cut for players. It is expected fans won't be allowed in the stands when action resumes, badly damaging the sport's economic model.

      The players union replied Sunday with a 114-game proposal that would see the players receive their standard salaries on a prorated basis.

      MLB rejected the union's plan on Wednesday without responding with a counteroffer, according to multiple media reports.

      Stearns said regarding the timetable for starting play, "From what I understand, the farther you go into June, the shorter the season becomes. So, at some point, you run out of time. I've got no indication we are there yet. That's one of the reasons for my optimism."

      He added regarding another key issue that must be resolved by the parties, "The health protocols involve a variety of different 'players.' You've got state and local officials. You've got public health experts. Then, you've got Major League Baseball and the players association.

      "The good news is I think all sides want to follow the advice of health officials, and the state and local officials. So, we have guidance there and I think we can work through it. On the economic issues, there are different perspectives, and that's natural. The unifying force here is that everyone wants to play."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: MLB rejects players' 114-game proposal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    Major League Baseball rejected the 114-game proposal by the Players Association for the 2020 season, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Wednesday.

    • The report adds that the league does not intend to make a counteroffer for a number of regular-season games, and will discuss additional options with the MLB Players' Association. ESPN reported Monday, via sources, that owners considered countering the 114-game proposal with a micro 50-game season.

      The MLBPA's proposed a 114-game regular season would have been conducted from June 30 to Oct. 31, according to Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

      MLB's now-abandoned counter proposal of around 50 games would have started the season in July. Also in Monday's ESPN report, owners were willing to relent to the players' demand of a prorated portion of salary by number of games played.

      The players believe that an agreement between the sides back in March awarded them a prorated portion of their salaries based on games played. The owners believe the same agreement gives them the ability to mandate a shorter season, as well as the ability to further reduce player pay if fans are not in the stands for games.

      The consensus is that a three-week renewal of spring training is needed before payers take the field. If the shortened season were to start on July 1, teams would need to return to a spring training setting by June 10.

      Major League originally intended to begin its season on March 26, however the league was forced to stop in its tracks due to the spread of the coronavirus.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pirates RHP Archer out for season following TOS surgery
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, June 3, 2020

    Right-hander Chris Archer will not pitch until 2021 after undergoing surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced Wednesday.

    • Archer, who had surgery in St. Louis, consulted "with several leading vascular and orthopedic surgeons in recent weeks," the team said.

      During his second spring training start in February, the Pirates removed Archer with tightness in his neck. He made one start in March and tossed two scoreless innings.

      The Mayo Clinic describes thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) as a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between the collarbone and the first rib (thoracic outlet) become compressed.

      The Pirates acquired the 31-year-old Archer, a two-time All-Star in the American League, from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018.

      He was 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 23 starts with the Pirates in 2019.

      Archer is "projected to return" in 2021, per the Pirates.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cubs' Ricketts defends MLB owners
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    Tom Ricketts, owner of the Chicago Cubs, wants baseball fans to know the league is facing "biblical losses" in 2020.

    • Players and owners are in negotiations about the financial split involved in a return to the field during the coronavirus pandemic.

      Ricketts told ESPN on Tuesday that teams will be operating at a loss or breaking even at best.

      "The scale of losses across the league is biblical," Ricketts said. "The timing of the work stoppage, the inability to play was right before the season started. We're looking at 30 teams with zero revenue. To cover the losses, all teams have gone out and borrowed. There's no other way to do it in the short run. In the long run, we may be able to sell equity to cover some of our losses but that's in the long run. Who would invest at the moment?"

      Ricketts supports a season in some form or fashion, but he told ESPN that playing games without fans assures losing more money.

      "Here's something I hope baseball fans understand," Ricketts said. "Most baseball owners don't take money out of their team. They raise all the revenue they can from tickets and media rights, and they take out their expenses, and they give all the money left to their GM to spend.

      "The league itself does not make a lot of cash. I think there is a perception that we hoard cash and we take money out and it's all sitting in a pile we've collected over the years. Well, it isn't. Because no one anticipated a pandemic. No one expects to have to draw down on the reserves from the past. Every team has to figure out a way to plug the hole."

      Ricketts said the Cubs, who have launched their own TV network, are aiming for 20 percent of their usual targeted revenue this year.

      "There are scenarios where not playing at all can be a better financial option, but we're not looking at that," Ricketts said. "We want to play. We want to get back on the field. ... I'm not aware of any owners that don't want to play. We just want to get back on the field in a way that doesn't make this season financially worse for us."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Tensions escalate in MLB talks
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, June 2, 2020

    Tensions are rising as the gap between proposals from Major League Baseball's owners and players widens, USA Today reported Tuesday afternoon.

    • Players did not receive a formal counter proposal to their 114-game schedule plan, which was delivered to owners on Sunday. USA Today reported players had heard of the 50-game proposal that is reportedly the preference of owners, but no formal presentation of the outline had reached the players union.

      ESPN reported owners were leaning toward a micro season of around 50 games. USA Today reported on Tuesday that owners might want no more than 40 regular-season games.

      Owners also considered an 82-game schedule with a sliding pay scale that would bring heavier salary reductions for the highest-paid players in baseball. For example, New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole would go from $36 million to somewhere near $8 million for the 2020 season. Los Angeles Angels outfield Mike Trout would be in the same range.

      Under the 50-game proposal with prorated salaries, those players would be closer to $11 million, based on figures from USA Today and ESPN.

      MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred estimated baseball would lose about $4 billion by playing games without fans.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Owners counter with 50-game micro season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 1, 2020

    In the back-and-and-forth negotiations between Major League Baseball players and owners, designed on getting the 2020 season started during the coronavirus pandemic, the latest counterproposal from owners is for a micro season in the neighborhood of 50 games, ESPN reported Monday.

    • The owners' originally proposed an 82-game regular season to start in early July, followed by playoffs. On Sunday, the MLB Players' Association countered with a 114-game season that would start June 30, followed by playoffs.

      According to Monday's report, the owners are willing to relent to the players' demand of a prorated portion of salary by number of games played. But instead of meeting in the middle on how many regular-season games would be played, the owners are now considering "a schedule of around 50 games," according to the report by Jeff Passan.

      Under the owners' latest proposal, the season would get underway on an unspecified date in July.

      The players believe that an agreement between the sides back in March awarded them a prorated portion of their salaries based on games played. The owners believe the same agreement gives them the ability to mandate a shorter season, as well as the ability to further reduce player pay if fans are not in the stands for games.

      The consensus is that a three-week renewal of spring training is needed before payers take the field. If the shortened season were to start on July 1, teams would need to return to a spring training setting by June 10.

      --Field Level Media

  • Judge tosses Dykstra defamation suit vs. Darling
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 1, 2020

    A New York Supreme Court judge dismissed Lenny Dykstra's lawsuit alleging defamation and libel against former New York Mets teammate Ron Darling.

    • Dykstra went after Darling for claims made in his book "108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters From My Time in the Game," which was published last year.

      In granting a motion from Darling and the book's publishers to dismiss the suit, Justice Robert D. Kalish said the court found "no legal basis for why it should use its very limited time and resources litigating whether Dykstra engaged in yet another example of bigoted behavior over thirty-years ago in a court of law. There are sports commentators, bloggers and legions of baseball fans to litigate this issue in a public space."

      Darling wrote in his book that Dykstra shouted racial taunts at Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd from the on-deck circle before Game 3 of the 1986 World Series.

      Dykstra, 57, was seeking damages including monetary damages, compensatory and punitive damages, plus court costs.

      Kalish also said Dykstra was "infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug-abuser, a thief, and an embezzler. Further, Dykstra had a reputation -- largely due to his autobiography -- of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Some owners OK calling off 2020 season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 1, 2020

    Players could be pushing a group of owners toward pulling the plug on the 2020 season, ESPN's Buster Olney reported.

    • As tensions escalate between owners and the players association over proposals that include varying levels of modifications to the typical MLB financial model, players introduced a proposal for a longer season -- 114 games -- that would allow for earning more pay on a prorated basis.

      But Olney said at least one group of owners is unwilling to budge on the previous proposal from MLB, which offered tiered salary reductions. Essentially, the highest-paid players would lose more to help prevent deeper cuts to lower-wage players.

      "Sources say there is a group of owners perfectly willing to shut down the season, to slash payroll costs and reduce losses, and the disparate views among the 30 teams have been reflected in the decisions to fire and furlough. The Pirates' Bob Nutting used the shutdown as an avenue to suspend team contributions to employee 401K plans -- savings best measured monthly in the tens of thousands of dollars rather than the millions that would actually be difference-making for a franchise probably worth at least $1 billion. The Oakland Athletics' John Fisher decided to eliminate the $400 weekly salaries of minor leaguers, which might save the franchise about the amount of the team's unpaid stadium rental bill. On the other hand, clubs such as the Tigers, Padres and Royals demonstrated greater humanity, with the Royals' John Sherman deciding to pay his minor leaguers," Olney wrote.

      Discussions are expected to continue this week, but a deadline to get the players back together for a reboot of spring training is rapidly approaching, Olney said.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pressure mounting, Nationals ownership to pay minor leaguers
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 1, 2020

    Washington Nationals ownership reversed a decision to cut pay to minor league players by $100 after players on the MLB roster voted unanimously to bridge the delta by establishing a self-funded payment pool.

    • Players in the Nationals' farm system will instead be paid $400 weekly until the end of the scheduled season in late August. The restored payment to minor leaguers was reported Monday by multiple outlets.

      After the Washington Post originally reported that the club was planning to reduce the pay to $300 per week, veteran reliever Sean Doolittle announced via Twitter that the team's current 25-man roster was fully committed to plugging that gap.

      "After hearing that Nationals minor league players are facing additional pay cuts, the current members of the Washington Nationals Major League Baseball club will be coming together and committing funds to make whole the lost wages from their weekly stipends," Doolittle said.

      "All of us were minor leaguers at one point in our careers, and we know how important the weekly stipends are for them and their families during uncertain times. Minor leaguers are an essential part of our organization and they are bearing the heaviest burden of this situation as their season is likely to be canceled.

      "We recognize that and want to stand with them and show our support."

      Doolittle said a Zoom call to discuss offsetting reduced pay for minor leaguers didn't last long -- it was quickly established that unanimous support to create the fund to fully pay those players was enough to move forward.

      Major League Baseball announced players would earn $400 per week in April and May. After that, it was up to individual teams to figure out a financial model to follow during the coronavirus pandemic. The Oakland Athletics eliminated stipends entirely.

      Other teams are offering reduced compensation.

      The Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins plan to pay players in the farm system $400 per week through August, when the usual minor league season ends.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Players give owners 114-game counteroffer
    By Field Level Media / Monday, June 1, 2020

    The Major League Baseball Players Association presented its expected counteroffer to owners on Sunday, standing firm on their stance on pay but offering concessions on several other issues, multiple outlets are reporting.

    • According to the reports, the players countered the owners' proposed 82-game regular season with a 114-game schedule -- with the flexibility of doubleheaders and to be concluded by Oct. 31. In addition, players would have the ability to opt out of playing in 2020; players deemed "high risk" would be paid and receive service time, while those not deemed high risk who opt out would receive service time only.

      High-risk players are those either with pre-existing conditions or with family members more susceptible to COVID-19.

      Among the other proposals, per the reports:

      --Players would receive a $100 million salary advance during preseason camp

      --The playoffs would be allowed to expand to 14 teams for the 2020 and '21 seasons

      --MLB can defer $100 million total in salaries should there be no postseason, with the deferments applied to contracts of $10 million or more

      --Players would agree to additional implementation of on-field microphones and other broadcast enhancements

      --Players would be willing to hold events such as an offseason All-Star Game or Home Run Derby to generate additional revenue

      ESPN's Jeff Passan added that the proposal places the start of the regular season at June 30.

      Passan also reported that players expect owners to reject the deal, but hope that the proposal helps build a bridge toward a potential agreement this week.

      In late March, the union agreed to a deal to have players paid on a prorated basis depending upon how many games are completed this year. However, that was with the assumption that fans would be in the stands. With sports, including baseball, now looking at the likelihood of a resumption behind closed doors, MLB's economic model was greatly impacted.

      MLB owners last week presented the MLBPA with a revised economic plan for the yet-to-start 2020 season, proposing a sliding-scale of pay cuts, with the top-paid stars due to take the biggest hits. The proposal was MLB's attempt to revise the year's finances based on shifting realities amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused spring training to shut down in mid-March and has led to Opening Day being postponed indefinitely.

      The league proposal to further cut player salaries drew the players' ire. Under the plan, the highest-paid players would see the deepest cuts in pay, reportedly somewhere between 60 and 75 percent.

      MLB officials have been hoping to start the season around July 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: A-Rod, J-Lo take 2nd swing at buying Mets
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, May 30, 2020

    Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez reportedly aren't giving up on their desire to purchase the New York Mets.

    • While the power couple's first attempt at acquiring the team recently fell apart, they are now working with JPMorgan Chase bankers to produce a second bid, the New York Post reported Friday night.

      The newspaper cited anonymous sources saying that actress-singer Lopez and retired baseball star Rodriguez are willing to invest "hundreds of millions" out of their pockets to acquire the Mets.

      Per the Post, the Wilpon family, who own the Mets, are growing more eager to unload the team as their finances take a hit due to baseball's shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic. The newspaper added that the Wilpons are now willing to package SNY, the Mets' cable network, for sale along with the club.

      The Wilpons' previous unwillingness to include SNY in the deal helped sink the first bid from Rodriguez and Lopez, according to the Post.

      The Wilpons initially were reported to be shopping the Mets in December, when billionaire hedge-fund founder Steve Cohen attempted to acquire 80 percent of the team. Cohen already was a minority owner of the team.

      Cohen announced in February that his bid to gain controlling interest had failed, news that was followed shortly by reports of interest from Rodriguez and Lopez.

      Last month, Forbes placed the Mets' value at $2.4 billion, a 4 percent rise from last year. The Mets' ranked sixth on Forbes list of values for Major League Baseball teams, trailing only the New York Yankees ($5 billion), Los Angeles Dodgers ($3.4 billion), Boston Red Sox ($3.3 billion), Chicago Cubs ($3.2 billion) and San Francisco Giants ($3.1 billion).

      Rodriguez, 44, was a three-time Most Valuable Player and 14-time All-Star in a 22-year major league career that included stints with the Seattle Mariners (1994-2000), Texas Rangers (2001-03) and New York Yankees (2004-13). His career accomplishments were tarnished by his admitted use of performance-enhancing drugs.

      Lopez, 50, has enjoyed success as both a movie star and a singer. Fox Business reported in February that her net worth is between $225 million and $400 million, with Rodriguez's net worth estimated at $300 million to $350 million.

      --Field Level Media

  • Royals vow no layoffs, furloughs; paying all-minor leaguers
    By Field Level Media / Friday, May 29, 2020

    All Kansas City Royals employees, including minor-league baseball players, are safe from job cuts and furloughs during the coronavirus pandemic.

    • ESPN reported no employees would be asked to take a pay cut or be laid off as baseball works through the COVID-19 crisis.

      Opening Day was scheduled for March 26, but spring training was shut down two weeks earlier due to the coronavirus.

      On Thursday, hundreds of minor-league players were released and more are expected to be let go as the minor league season approaches cancellation, according to ESPN.

      The Royals are not releasing any players from their minor league system and plan to pay them their usual stipend during the hiatus.

      A number of teams have turned to layoffs and furloughs as Major League Baseball works toward getting back on the field.

      While financial hurdles exist, MLB is hoping to have players back on the field for a delayed Opening Day by July 4.

      --Field Level Media

  • Suspended P Vazquez facing new pornography charge
    By Field Level Media / Friday, May 29, 2020

    Suspended Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Felipe Vazquez is facing a new child pornography charge in St. Louis, separate from the 20 counts in Florida.

    • The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Vazquez was charged in Missouri with furnishing pornographic materials to a juvenile in February after sending pornographic photos to a minor there last summer, an offense that is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri.

      The photos of Vazquez were sent to a 15-year-old girl who used to live in Pennsylvania.

      Florida prosecutors filed 21 total charges and 20 related to child pornography against Vazquez in September, and he has been held in Westmoreland County (Pa.) Prison.

      Vazquez was suspended immediately by Major League Baseball.

      His first court appearance is scheduled for June 23.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former teammate in minors rips Tebow
    By Field Level Media / Friday, May 29, 2020

    Former second-round pick Andrew Church was released by the New York Mets on Thursday and a certain former NFL quarterback in the minor-league system is still standing.

    • That didn't sit well with Church, who posted a statement on Instagram.

      "When I told them I couldn't (pitch while recovering from UCL surgery), I was made out to be the bad guy. They made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren't playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did. I think people are starting to understand that more now but they didn't in 2018 when it was happening again. I was fed up," Church wrote without directly naming Tebow.

      Tebow, now 32, joined the Mets in 2017 and has been at every level of the team's minor-league system. He started with the Mets in 2017 in St. Lucie, then Class A Columbia and moved to Triple-A Syracuse last season.

      The former Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback at Florida also played in the NFL after being a first-round draft pick.

      Out of football, Tebow decided to play baseball and signed with the Mets. He has a career batting average of .223.

      --Field Level Media

  • MLB finalizes five-round draft starting June 10
    By Field Level Media / Friday, May 29, 2020

    Major League Baseball finalized plans for a five-round draft starting June 10.

    • The first night of the draft will encompass the first round, which is 37 picks including competitive balance selections.

      The Detroit Tigers have the No. 1 pick.

      A typical MLB draft lasts 40 rounds, but the NCAA's decision to offer repeat eligibility for spring sport college athletes due to the coronavirus pandemic led to a revised agreement with the players association. The length of the draft is just five rounds this year and 20 rounds in 2021.

      Rounds 2-5 will take place on June 11.

      The Baltimore Orioles pick second in the 2020 draft, followed by the Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Angels.

      The Orioles also have the 30th pick -- the first competitive balance selection.

      The Houston Astros lost their first- and second-round picks as part of their penalties for illegally stealing signs, with the Boston Red Sox losing their second-round selection in the scandal.

      The Angels, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets and New York Yankees forfeited their second-round picks as a result of signing qualified free agents.

      --By Field Level Media

  • Report: Dodgers P Price gives $1K apiece to team's minor leaguers
    By Field Level Media / Friday, May 29, 2020

    Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price will gift $1,000 to each of the players in the team's minor-league system, MLB writer Francys Romero reported.

    • Major League Baseball agreed to pay each minor leaguer $400 for May as teams coped with the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

      Price's gesture comes amid a report from ESPN's Jeff Passan, who reported Thursday that teams released "hundreds" of minor leaguers. The minor league baseball season widely has been expected to be canceled as Major League Baseball attempts to figure out how to play a partial 2020 season.

      In April, Rangers designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo made a $1,000 donation to each of the minor-league players in Texas' farm system.

      Choo, 37, spent three seasons in the minors before he broke into the big leagues.

      "I came here with nothing, but baseball has given me a lot since," Choo told Naver Sports of South Korea. "Minor league players are the future of our organization. I just hope that they can fight through and overcome this difficult time."

      The Dodgers acquired Price, the 2012 American League Cy Young Award winner, along with outfielder Mookie Betts in a trade with the Red Sox in December. He has three years remaining on a seven-year, $217 million deal he signed with Boston in 2015.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: 'Hundreds' of minor-leaguers released, season in peril
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, May 28, 2020

    The coronavirus pandemic is decimating minor league baseball, with "hundreds" of players released on Thursday and hundreds more expecting the same fate, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported.

    • Passan said the minor league baseball season, which is shorter than the MLB season, is widely expected to be canceled as Major League Baseball attempts to wrangle the financial damage from COVID-19.

      "Across baseball, hundreds of minor league players were cut today and lost their jobs, sources tell ESPN. Hundreds more will be released over the next week. In the end, upward of 1,000 players could see their baseball careers end. The minor leagues have simply been devastated," Passan wrote in the first of a string of tweets on Thursday.

      The moves were not customary roster-trimming, as Passan pointed out.

      "In normal years, cuts happen but not en masse like this. The fallout from the coronavirus, expected minor league contraction and the anticipated cancellation of the 2020 minor league season prompted organizations each to release dozens of players, who were being paid $400 a week," he wrote.

      Several teams informed minor-league players they would be paid through the month of June without guarantees after that.

      MLB denied reports last month that 40 minor league teams would be eliminated in a massive restructuring of the system. But the ongoing fiscal challenges and escalating drama between MLB players and owners could impact minor-leaguers.

      Major League Baseball made a record $10.7 billion in revenue in 2019, according to Forbes.

      --Field Level Media

  • Widow: Halladay was an addict
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, May 28, 2020

    Roy Halladay, the All-Star pitcher who died operating an aircraft, was an addict in the estimation of his widow, who revealed the opinion in a documentary to air Friday.

    • "Imperfect: The Roy Halladay Story" is being broadcast on the 10th anniversary of Halladay's perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies by ESPN E:60 on Friday.

      "Everybody saw him as this very strong, dominant person," Brandy Halladay told John Barr of ESPN. "But he was terrified. He didn't feel like he had the luxury of making a mistake. He was tormented. He truly was. He was a tormented man."

      Brandy Halladay said she implored Roy Halladay to retire in a me-or-baseball ultimatum in 2013, ending a 16-year career. But she quickly found out he struggled to cope with anxiety, depression and addiction even more when he didn't have the game. He didn't know how to, as Brandy Halladay puts it, "self evaluate."

      "Those pills weren't fixing the problem," Brandy Halladay says, "they were masking the symptoms for him to do his job."

      Halladay was the pilot of an aircraft with no passengers when he crashed in Nov. 2017 in the Gulf of Mexico. Toxicology reports showed he had opioids, amphetamines, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatory medication in his system that day.

      He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019.

      The documentary outlines attempts by the Phillies to intervene and get Halladay help. He spent three months in a rehab facility after his retirement.

      Pitcher Kyle Kendrick, a former teammate in Philadelphia, said there were many days when Halladay was present physically but not the same.

      "Just the way he was acting, you could just see something was wrong. I tried to talk to him, and felt like he wasn't there. It was just terrible to see," Kendrick said.

      --Field Level Media

  • Players building counter to MLB's pay-cut proposal
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, May 28, 2020

    Upset with MLB's economic offer to players, the Major League Baseball Players Association soon will present a counteroffer to owners that includes a schedule of more than 100 games and an accompanying prorated cut in pay, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Thursday.

    • Major League Baseball presented the players union with a revised economic plan for the yet-to-start 2020 season on Tuesday, proposing a sliding-scale of pay cuts, with the top-paid stars due to take the biggest hits. The proposal was MLB's attempt to revise the year's finances based on shifting realities amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused spring training to shut down in mid-March and has led to Opening Day being postponed indefinitely.

      The league proposal to further cut player salaries drew the players' ire. Under the plan, the highest-paid players would see the deepest cuts in pay, reportedly somewhere between 60 and 75 percent.

      To Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, a member of the MLBPA executive subcommittee, that is unacceptable. He took to Twitter Wednesday night to voice the players' displeasure.

      "After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there's no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions," Scherzer wrote. "We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there's no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received."

      Passan said the players will seek to play 100 or more games instead of the 82 in the MLB proposal. More games will allow the players to earn higher income if they are paid on a prorated basis.

      MLB officials have been hoping to start the season around July 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Braves C Pocoroba dies at 66
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    Former Atlanta Braves catcher Biff Pocoroba, an All-Star in 1978, died at the age of 66, the team announced Wednesday.

    • No cause of death was announced.

      A 17th-round draft choice by Atlanta in 1971, Pocoroba made his major league debut for the Braves in 1975. He hit six homers and drove in 34 runs in 1978 when he was named to the National League All-Star team.

      A switch hitter who was known for his defense behind the plate, Pocoroba threw out 34 percent of attempted base-stealers in both 1976 and 1977.

      He played just four games in 1984 before he retired with a career .257 batting average over 596 games, all with the Braves. He had 21 home runs and 172 RBIs.

      --Field Level Media

  • A's, Dodgers cut employees' salaries amid pandemic
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, May 27, 2020

    The Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's announced cost-cutting moves Tuesday in response to baseball's ongoing shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    • The Dodgers announced that they are cutting employees' salaries in an effort to avoid furloughs and "to preserve hundreds of jobs."

      The A's, meanwhile, announced that they are furloughing front-office staffers and scouts, and they are cutting off salary payments for minor-league players effective June 1. The team had been paying minor-leaguers $400 per week, according to multiple media reports.

      Oakland team owner John Fisher wrote in a statement posted on the team's farm system Twitter account, "Baseball is more than a job -- it is a way of life. People who work for our team are our family -- our very foundation -- and they work tirelessly to help the A's compete in this most precious game. COVID-19 has brought a tragic loss of life and sickness to so many in our community, and it has impacted us all in ways we could have never imagined. Our organization, like so many others across the country, has had to make tough and painful decisions."

      A's general manager David Forst wrote in an email to the organization's minor-leaguers, "This was a difficult decision and it's one that comes at a time when a number of our full-time employees are also finding themselves either furloughed or facing a reduction in salary for the remainder of the season. For all of this, I am sorry."

      While the Dodgers did not release financial specifics of their salary cuts, multiple media outlets reported that the team is making tiered pay reductions for everyone earning at least $75,000 per year, with the highest-salaried workers facing larger cuts.

      The Dodgers said in a statement, "The Coronavirus has caused grave health issues as well as widespread financial hardships for many people and also for businesses. The virus also has created uncertainty regarding the 2020 MLB season. The entire Dodgers' organization, including the great many people who work to bring you games and the experience of being in the park, face unprecedented challenges, as do so many others.

      "Over the last several weeks, we have considered every way to better withstand the challenges presented by the virus. Today -- while we remain very hopeful that there will be a 2020 season -- we are implementing a number of measures to reduce our costs. We remain ready to play as soon as that becomes feasible.

      "These measures include salary reductions for all (exempt) employees above a certain salary threshold, with higher paid employees taking a larger share of the reductions. This plan allows us to avoid organization-wide furloughs and to preserve hundreds of jobs."

      Major League Baseball halted spring training in mid-March due to the pandemic, and plans to start the season remain uncertain. Among other issues, the teams and the players union are at odds over salaries for a potentially shortened season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Players balk at MLB's pay-cut proposal
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, May 26, 2020

    Major League Baseball presented its players union with a revised economic plan for the yet-to-start 2020 season on Tuesday, proposing a sliding-scale of pay cuts, with the top-paid stars due to take the biggest hits.

    • The outline was met with immediate resistance from the MLB Players Association, multiple media outlets reported.

      According to USA Today, the MLBPA views the proposed cuts as being "massive."

      The teams did back off their proposal for revenue sharing, which the union feared could be a step toward a salary cap.

      The latest proposal is MLB's attempt to revise the year's finances based on shifting realities amid the coronavirus pandemic, which caused spring training to shut down in mid-March and has led to Opening Day being postponed indefinitely.

      In late March, the union agreed to a deal to have players paid on a prorated basis depending upon how many games are completed this year. However, that was with the assumption that fans would be in the stands. With sports, including baseball, now looking at the likelihood of a resumption behind closed doors, MLB's economic model was greatly impacted.

      The result was the proposal made Tuesday. The players with the highest salaries could be facing a pay cut of more than 60 percent, according to ESPN, with USA Today putting the top reduction at "perhaps as much as 75 percent." Players making the league minimum of $563,500 would have the smallest percentage pay cut.

      The game's top-paid players, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, could see their 2020 salaries sliced from $36 million to around $8 million, according to ESPN.

      MLB wrote in a statement, "We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport. We look forward to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA."

      Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brett Anderson tweeted, "Interesting strategy of making the best most marketable players potentially look like the bad guys"

      ESPN provided a comparison of player salaries on a prorated basis for an 82-game schedule vs. the owners' new proposal.

      A player with the minimum salary would have received $285,000 on a prorated basis for 82 games but would get $262,000 under MLB's new plan.

      Other figures, with 82-game prorated salary versus the salary under MLB's proposal, per ESPN:

      $1.01 million vs. $736,000

      $5.06 million vs. $2.64 million

      $10.1 million vs. $5.15 million

      $15.2 million vs. $6.95 million

      $17.7 million vs. $7.84 million

      --Field Level Media