It is a distant memory now, but there was a point during the shutdown that it was fair to wonder whether or not there would be a 2020 season at all. While they were eventually able to come to an agreement on covid protocols, that only happened after the league and the union played out an ugly game of negotiations publicly and never did fully agree on the structure. Commissioner Rob Manfred instead implemented what turned out to be a 60-game regular season. Expanded playoffs were agreed to after the season began.
That was an ominous sign with the CBA set to expire at the end of the 2021 season. We are likely to get a reminder soon enough of just how chilly things are between both sides. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported recently that the league asked the Players Association if it would be open to a shortened season in 2021. The union rejected that overture saying that the players are planning for a full 162-game season and plan to show up to spring training on time. As Drellich points out, the players may ultimately be open to discussing a shortened season but not if it includes any drop in pay. Remember, that was a huge point of contention for the negotiations for the 2020 season.
In short, if you thought the negotiations were bad from this last spring, we probably haven’t seen anything yet.
Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that they finally recognize the Negro Leagues from 1920 to 1948 as Major Leagues. Statistics from that period will now also be classified as “major league” and career totals will be adjusted accordingly.
The Tampa Bay Rays reached a one-year, $2 million deal with free agent catcher Mike Zunino. The Rays declined Zunino’s $4.5 million option last month but he opted to return at a lesser rate. The deal also reportedly includes a club option for 2022 that is worth between $4-7 million that is based on playing time.
The Los Angeles Angels added lefty reliever Alex Claudio on a one-year, $1.125 million deal Wednesday. Claudio posted a 4.26 ERA in 19 innings with the Brewers in 2020.
The San Francisco Giants reached a one-year, $6 million deal with free agent starter Anthony DeSclafani. DeSclafani struggled in 2020 with the Reds posting a 7.22 ERA in 33 2/3 innings.
Mets president Sandy Alderson updated the status of injured starter Noah Syndergaard and said that the team is expecting him to be back at the major league level some time in June. Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery last March.
Gabe Kapler told reporters Wednesday that Buster Posey will remain the Giants primary catcher in 2021 and will see the most playing time despite the presence of top prospect Joey Bart. Posey opted out of the 2020 season and will be entering the final year of his contract.