If you are reading the tea leaves around Major League Baseball over the last couple of days, then you are seeing signs that this could be a very tough offseason for the players. It was always a question as to how playing a 60-game season without fans was going to effect the bottom line and the early returns are not good. Several notable players have had their options for the 2021 season declined further saturating the free agent market.
That is simply a backdrop for what is already a tense relationship between the league and the Player’s Association with CBA negotiations on the horizon. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich did a great job laying out the uncertainty on Friday including the possibility of negotiations being pushed further into the future. Also on the mind of league officials is what a 2021 season will look like. Drellich also reports that if a COVID-19 vaccine is not available in time for the start of spring training, then only major league and Triple-A players are likely to be the only ones to report at the start of camp.
It is bad enough that one of the most notable CBA discussions is looming and tensions are already high. Fans may once again have to rely on the league and the players to come to an agreement on guidelines for next season if progress isn’t made with the pandemic. This is going to be a fluid situation and there may be more activity on this front than actual player movement.
Atlanta Braves News
The Braves made a series of roster moves Friday reinstating Mike Soroka, Jeremy Walker and Philip Pfeifer from the 45-day injured list. They also announced that the team had an agreement with outfielder Abraham Almonte on a non-guaranteed major league contract. Atlanta also announced that Charlie Culberson had elected free agency after he cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster.
Atlanta will likely be on the hunt for starting pitcher help this offseason and an early report has them showing interest in veteran right-hander Adam Wainwright.
The Braves recently wrapped up instructs at Gwinnett with a small roster of non-40 man players. MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo has a report on who stood out.
Major League Baseball announced Friday that the upcoming Owners Meetings and Winter Meetings have both been postponed as in person events.
The Detroit Tigers made it official as they announced the hiring of former Astros manager AJ Hinch. Hinch of course was suspended for the entire 2020 season for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. The suspension ended with the conclusion of the World Series and the Tigers reportedly called about 30 minutes after the Dodgers won Game 6.
Alex Cora’s suspension also ended with the World Series and he likely won’t be without a job for long. Cora is reportedly scheduled to meet with the Red Sox in the next few days about a potential return.
Major League Baseball owners approved the sale of the New York Mets from the Wilpon family to Steve Cohen on Friday. The league expects Cohen to assume control of the franchise within the next 10 days.
Notable players to have 2021 options declined
The Cleveland Indians declined options on first baseman Carlos Santana, outfielder Domingo Santana and reliever Brad Hand. They did pick up catcher Robert Perez’s $5.5 million option for 2021.
As expected, the Texas Rangers declined the $18 million option in Corey Kluber’s contract making him a free agent.
The Tampa Bay Rays declined the options on right-hander Charlie Morton and catcher Mike Zunino.
The Chicago White Sox declined options on veterans Edwin Encarnacion and Gio Gonzalez.
The Miami Marlins declined reliever Brandon Kintzler’s $4 million option for next season.