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Cactus League Informs MLB Of Desire To Delay Start Of Spring Training

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By Steve Adams and TC Zencka | January 25, 2021 at 3:55pm CDT

Less than a month before players are set to report to Spring Training, Arizona’s Cactus League has submitted a formal request to commissioner Rob Manfred asking that the start of Spring Training be delayed due to the Covid-19 infection rate in Maricopa County (Twitter link via Brahm Resnick of 12 News in Arizona). The Cactus League itself does not have the authority to delay the start of Spring Training, but its formal request figures to elicit a response from the commissioner’s office.

“Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Cactus League has formed a task force to ensure that our 10 spring training facilities are prepared to host the 2021 spring training season in a manner that is safe for all involved,” executive director Bridget Binsbacher wrote in a letter co-signed by nine other key members of the Cactus League. “We stand ready to work with you on the final preparation and outcome to begin the season. … But in the view of the current state of the pandemic in Maricopa County — with one of the nation’s highest infection rates — we believe it wise to delay the start of spring training to allow for the Covid-19 situation to improve here.”

The county’s appeal, however, doesn’t figure to have an effect on policy unless the players change their position – and on this issue they have been clear. In response to the letter from the Cactus League, the MLBPA released its own statement, reiterating their desire (and insistence) to start on time. “Although we have not received any communication directly, the MLBPA is aware of a letter that has been distributed today by the Cactus League Association,” the letter begins. It goes on to say, “The letter correctly notes that MLB does not have the ability to unilaterally make this decision.”

In negotiating the rules and conditions for the 2021 season, the MLBPA has been staunch in their desire to play a full season, which logistically necessitates a regularly-scheduled spring session under most if not all scenarios under consideration. For there to be any movement on the players’ part, owners and the league would have to account for the money that players would lose by delaying and truncating the season. This may be the players’ greatest point of leverage, and it’s not one they appear willing to compromise without considerable concessions on the league’s part. For what it’s worth, the NHL is currently active in Glendale with fans in the stands, notes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Glendale was one of the cities to sign the letter sent to the league.

There are basically two scenarios that could result in a delayed Spring Training. The first would be the local health crisis growing dire enough such that health officials mandate restrictions that conflict with the league’s ability to open camps. Considering the already-dire nature of the crisis at present, this isn’t considered a particularly likely outcome. The other possibility is the MLB and the MLBPA deciding together that a delay of camp is the proper course of action.

 

 

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AA and A league’s are already pushed back until after MLB spring training is done. If these guys delay starting, the minors will be pushed back as well. There was already talk of the minor leagues going into early October. 

I’m expecting worst case scenarios just because if it can, it will. 

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On 1/23/2021 at 1:10 PM, tiger337 said:

The expanded playoff was not a result of the shortened season.  They already reached an agreement with TV to add another round of playoffs before the pandemic.  I don't think it's going to be 16 teams.  It sounds like it will be 14.  

As counterintuitive as it seems the players association has rejected MLB's offer on expanded playoff + universal DH. They want more payoff for the playoffs than just a few more DH spots.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30777383/sources-mlbpa-rejects-universal-dh-expanded-playoffs

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8 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

As counterintuitive as it seems the players association has rejected MLB's offer on expanded playoff + universal DH. They want more payoff for the playoffs than just a few more DH spots.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30777383/sources-mlbpa-rejects-universal-dh-expanded-playoffs

The owners were offering something both of them want in exchange for something the owners desperately want.  Of course the players turned it down.  

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12 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

As counterintuitive as it seems the players association has rejected MLB's offer on expanded playoff + universal DH. They want more payoff for the playoffs than just a few more DH spots.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30777383/sources-mlbpa-rejects-universal-dh-expanded-playoffs

Expanded playoffs will put a lot more $$ in the pockets of owners, but will make it easier for them to make the playoffs, so teams will not have to go as hard after high-priced FAs in order to compete; BUT more teams will be shopping for players in order to move from 70-75 wins into a playoff position, so the result of expanded playoffs **might** just be to flatten the curve of FA contracts, putting more $$ into the system and having it spread around to more players, but maybe less $$ for the high-end FAs.

Just speculating.... 

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13 hours ago, Gehringer_2 said:

As counterintuitive as it seems the players association has rejected MLB's offer on expanded playoff + universal DH. They want more payoff for the playoffs than just a few more DH spots.

https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30777383/sources-mlbpa-rejects-universal-dh-expanded-playoffs

Literal "payoff", as in more money?  I have not been following much.  What do the players want exactly that the owners are not offering?

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6 minutes ago, John_Brian_K said:

Literal "payoff", as in more money?  I have not been following much.  What do the players want exactly that the owners are not offering?

They want a bigger share of the playoff tv money.  

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7 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

They want a bigger share of the playoff tv money.  

That is what I thought it was, but was not sure.  

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4 hours ago, tiger337 said:

The owners were offering something both of them want in exchange for something the owners desperately want.  Of course the players turned it down.  

Because the owners will get way, way more from expanded playoffs than players will get from universal DH. Owners get a share of, or all of, all aspects of playoff revenue, while players get only part of the gate, and for only the first four games.

From the players perspective, the idea that the DH is another expensive player coughing up union dues is kind of apocryphal now, since most teams are splitting DH duties among multiple (cheaper) players. Of the 30 teams, only four or five have full-time DHs. Players also know that expanding playoffs will lead teams to spend only enough to squeak into the playoffs where anything can happen. Teams like the Padres loading up to win divisions will be the exception and not the rule. If you can spend just enough to get to 85 wins, that should be enough to get you in most years. Also, players don't want to cave on expanded playoffs in the last year of a CBA when they can use it as a big bargaining chip for the next one.

So, yeah, I can why the players turned them down.

 

 

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2 hours ago, sabretooth said:

Expanded playoffs will put a lot more $$ in the pockets of owners, but will make it easier for them to make the playoffs, so teams will not have to go as hard after high-priced FAs in order to compete; BUT more teams will be shopping for players in order to move from 70-75 wins into a playoff position, so the result of expanded playoffs **might** just be to flatten the curve of FA contracts, putting more $$ into the system and having it spread around to more players, but maybe less $$ for the high-end FAs.

Just speculating.... 

This needs a flow chart.

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6 hours ago, tiger337 said:

The owners were offering something both of them want in exchange for something the owners desperately want.  Of course the players turned it down.  

It seems like both sides could gain a little PR by keeping the DH a separate agreement than trying to roll it into something else?  Especially if both sides want the same outcome on that one issue?

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Free agents are starting to sign:

Semien —Toronto 1yr/$18M

A. Simmons - Minny 1 yr/~$10M

LaStella—SF details are ?

I wanted LaStella to play 2B and hit lead off.

Still holding out for Ozuna, though Grossman makes that less likely.

I see a reunion with Schoop and Cron, and one more SP.  still some  free agent catchers out there, too.
 

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No Hall of Fame guys this year.  Schilling gets closest with 71%.

The hall of fame should be taken away from baseball writers, as they obviously have no clue how to do their jobs.

Schilling, Clemens, Bonds and Rolen should all be in this year.

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29 minutes ago, Buddha said:

No Hall of Fame guys this year.  Schilling gets closest with 71%.

The hall of fame should be taken away from baseball writers, as they obviously have no clue how to do their jobs.

Schilling, Clemens, Bonds and Rolen should all be in this year.

I agree with those choices.  I would also add Helton, although he is tough to judge because of the park.  I am a little surprised you picked Rolen since he is very similar to Whitaker (good for a long time, but never a great season). 

Edit: Actually 2004 was great.   

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I’d add Kent and Andrew Jones into the mix.

 

Separately, I like the Wilson Ramos signing a lot—had two nice seasons in ‘18/‘19.  Much more upside than bringing Alex back for the third time.

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48 minutes ago, Buddha said:

No Hall of Fame guys this year.  Schilling gets closest with 71%.

The hall of fame should be taken away from baseball writers, as they obviously have no clue how to do their jobs.

Schilling, Clemens, Bonds and Rolen should all be in this year.

Schilling pitched at a Hall of Fame level, but if he never makes it into the Hall, that’s fine by me. Just my personal opinion.

I’m sure there’s some hall he and Aubrey Huff could hang out in.

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Wilson Ramos to the Tigers on 1/2. I like the risk. He can still pick it behind the plate and although his stick is all over the place, who knows, maybe we’ll roll seven or eleven on him this year. Maybe we can get two years out of him and then hand over the tools to Dingler.

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Hinch stating that they plan to work out Paredes at 2B makes me wonder if they have increased their focus on signing a FA 1B.

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