Open Discussion: Week of June 1st

The MLBPA responded to MLB’s proposal regarding the start of the 2020 season Sunday afternoon.  MLB called the players’ proposal “a non-starter”.   So, the ball’s back in the owners’ court.

I hope everyone continues to be well.  This is week twelve of my self-imposed quarantine.  Still remaining at home.  Might take the car out his week for a “walk”.  A drive by the Complex might  be part of the itinerary.

The players’ proposal included –

  • a 114-game regular season that would end on Halloween,
  • an opt-out clause that would allow any player to sit out the season, and
  • a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason was canceled.

Furthermore, the start of the season would be June 30th and the expanded playoff structure would be kept in place for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.  Players would receive a $100M salary advance during next year’s Spring Training in the event of a canceled 2020 postseason.  Players who are considered high risk candidates for COVID-19 (or who have spouses or family members who are high risk) would be able to opt out of playing this season while still receiving their entire prorated salaries.  Players who aren’t high risk but still don’t want to risk playing in 2020 will receive service time but no salary.

Since the Oakland A’s first announced that they wouldn’t continue paying the stipends to their minor league players past May 31st, most organizations have announced that they would continue thru the end of June.  One, the Nationals, announced that they would continue with a lower stipend.  Seven organizations announced that they will pay the stipends through the end of August and the Reds have committed to paying through September 7th.  Four organizations have yet to announce their intentions.

I believe that the organization’s announcements that they will continue to pay the monthly stipends through the end of August is evidence that the Minor League season will be cancelled.  Most likely after some major announcement regarding the Major League season.

Several organizations began releasing minor league players last week.  The Phillies may have released some players, but no transactions have been reported.  The Phillies don’t make these types of announcements until all the affected players have been notified.  Jon Heyman, without referring to a source, reported that the Phillies have released TJ Rivera.  However, Rivera’s Twitter and Instagram accounts still say he is in the Phillies Organization.

This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.

Key Dates:

  • May 26, 2020 – Owners present latest proposal to players
  • May 31, 2020 MLBPA counters with their own proposal
  • June 10-11, 2020 – Amateur Draft
  • June 14, 2020 – Beginning of signing non-drafted players
  • July 2, 2020  – January 15, 2021 – Start of the international signing period

The rosters and lists are up to date as of May 25th … 377 players in the org

Transactions (newest transactions are in bold print)
  • 5/15/2020 – OF Felix Reyes assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – RHP Edgar Zuniga assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – SS Erick Barria assigned to DSL White
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL Red released LHP Jose Palacio released (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released INF Victor Alfonso (2/17/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Norman Anciani (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Fausto Pediet (2/18/20)
  • 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Luis Vegas (2/18/20)
  • 5/07/2020 – RHP Jason Lott assigned to GCL Phillies East

56 thoughts on “Open Discussion: Week of June 1st

  1. If season ends on Halloween, what are the playoff dates? Will the last game of the WS be in December? Where will playoffs be played? Maybe the Phillies will play Yankees in the WS in Clearwater and Tampa.

  2. I’m not sure how the MLBPA can honestly believe that they can START the season on June 30th (which is only 4 weeks from now). It would be a struggle to have a short spring training session by that date.

  3. The fact that the players have included a contingency for deferred money tells me that the owners may engage at least on that point. Hopefully the handful of (small market?) owners who (reportedly) would rather bag 2020 altogether (which may very likely be a negotiating ploy anyway) will be shouted down by the majority. Baseball can’t afford to scrap the season without ripple effects far and wide, including the prospects of the impending CBA coming together in a timely manner. Messy, to say the least.

  4. There are rumors that there is a group, maybe just a small one, of owners, who would like the season cancelled altogether. I don’t understand the rationale. How does that make them money? Don’t there have to be games to collect the TV revenue? And whether you stand behind the owners or players, or neither, this Commissioner has fallen way short of being impressive.

  5. While the owners and the MLBPA continue hashing out a potential season, the countdown to the draft is down to 9 days.
    I/lots of people on here have been calling for the Phillies to pick a high ceiling pitcher for the past couple of years. Kiley McDaniel, this morning, has made the argument that local prep arm Adam Bitsko has the highest upside of any pitcher in this year’s draft (college or HS).

    In a nutshell … During the quarantine, Bitsko has been receiving online training from Driveline. Video released by Bitsko now shows the Central Bucks East prospect (who is till just 17 YO) already has an elite MLB FB. The spin rates on his four seamer are almost perfect (even comparable to Justin Verlander’s).
    Bitsko’s two breaking pitches (CB and SL) have each drastically improved under his online classes with Driveline. The best comp for Bitsko’s new CB is Chris Paddack (Padres), and Bitsko’s improved SL now best compares to Reds righty Luis Castillo.

    McDaniel does warn these spin rates have been achieved in a warehouse, and not yet in a game … but … he states, “Bitsko’s raw stuff — the velocity and movement of his four-seam fastball, slider, curveball — has all the quality of current big league starting pitchers and could plausibly be the arsenal for a current big league starter. And he’s still 17 with a limited track record of pitching.”

    He also mentions the Phillies as one of the teams hottest for Bitsko. The Padres are the team picking before the Phillies who also have strong interest.

    1. I mentioned Kiley McDaniels’ report on Nick Bitsko (above). Knowing that prep pitchers are the riskiest commodities in the first round, would you take the gamble and draft Bitsko (if he’s still available at 1-15)?
      Let’s say the following kids are available for the Phillies:

      * Nick Bitsko

      * Austin Hendrick (19 YO LH hitting prep OFer with some of the best raw power in the draft)

      * Patrick Bailey (switch hitting/plus bat C from NC State & an abv avg defender behing the plate)

      * Garrett Mitchell (LH hitting CFer from UCLA with plus speed and avg power potential)

      * Cade Cavalli (sturdy RHP from Oklahoma with 94-96 FB and plus CB)

      * Garrett Crochet (6′ 6″, 210 lb lefty who throws 99 MPH & features a plus sweeping SL. Has been getting some Josh Hader comps)

      * Bryce Jarvis (22 YO RHP from Duke w/ 4 above avg to plus pitches, and plus command. Will come at a significant discount because of his age, and should be a fast mover thru the system)

      Who should the Phillies draft at 1-15?

      1. Austin Hendrick

        Garrett Mitchell

          1. Cade Cavalli

            Garrett Crochet

          2. I love Bailey’s switch hitting bat. I’m not sure his arm is strong enough to stay behind the plate though. Is he the 15th pick if he doesn’t catch?

      2. If all of those guys are available I think I’d go Crochet. Normally I always lean to the college position player in the first round and I do like Mitchell but he seems pretty duplicative of the kind of player we have up and down in the system already.

    2. Another cautionary flag for young HS pitchers….with that top tier velo FBs…the high percentage rate of TJs.
      Would be great if they select him and he never needs to go under the knife.

  6. sorry that I repeated some of what you said, 8mark. I was typing before I saw your post.

  7. Hinkie, you had mentioned Bitsko a couple of months ago. I would probably take Cavalli, then Bitsko. I worry about Crochet and his command, and while I value relievers, I think he may end up there, so I go elsewhere with my first pick. I think we take Jarvis.

  8. Despite Hinkie’s super scouting job – I would only take a college pitcher since this draft is known to be the best pitching draft in a very long time. Bitsko is very enticing but someone above mentioned a TJ in his future due to the velocity and I agree. I would take the highest upside remaining college pitcher at # 15. Don’t care about position players in this draft.

    1. I agree. Under the circumstances of a short draft, and as much as I love the reports on Bitsko, a college arm would be my first priority, followed by a college bat, depending on who’s still on the board at 1-15…considering the urgency in the Phillies (Klentak’s) case, especially. The exception would be a stone stud prep talent, who probably would be picked long before theirs. Should the Phillies select Bitsko, I would not grumble, but I would scratch my head. He’s 17. Would he reach the majors in 2 years? Maybe but doubtful.

      1. 8mark…..”Would he (Bitsko) reach the majors in 2 years? Maybe but doubtful.”

        I think you are correct in that implied .assumption
        Looking back at drafts 2014 thru 2017 (4 drafts) and all first round selections of HS pitchers….of the total of 28 selected four actually have made it to the majors.
        Flaherty and Touissant from 2014
        Soroka and Allard from 2015
        And closing fast would be Whitley from 2016 and Gore from 2017.

        Judging by same sort of a sampling…selecting Bitsko here in 2020…probably will not result in him seeing CBP until at least 2024, barring any injuries’ or other setbacks.

        Whereas…collegian pitchers can be ready anywhere from 14 months after drafted. ie Nola….to perhaps 3 Cole irvin

  9. Florida State League transactions page lists 4 different players released from the Threshers roster on May 29th. Hunter Stovall and Raul Rivas also recently released according to the South Atlantic League transactions page.

    1. They were SALLY Lakewood releases-Stovall and Rivas….FSL Thresher releases from this weekend are:
      05/29/2020 Released Clearwater Threshers Willie Estrada Clearwater
      05/29/2020 Released Clearwater Threshers Waylon Richardson Clearwater .
      05/29/2020 Released Clearwater Threshers Michael Gomez Clearwater
      05/29/2020 Released Clearwater Threshers Ben Aklinski Clearwater

  10. Why does baseball have to be so friggin’ contentious between the owners and players… The biggest hurdles for NBA and NHL are site logistics… Baseball it’s A-Z fighting over everything. Now the financial fighting has spilled over into the health aspect which both sides initially claimed was 95% out and looked good. Between the Coronavirus and the George Floyd protests, America could so use the unifying aspect of baseball right now… But instead all we get is fighting and ugly PR. Dear Owners quit being such horses asses on finances… With T.V. money, stadium signage aligned for TV viewership no franchise will lose money… None. Dear Players; get one voice to speak with which should be Tony Clark.. The rest of you shut up. The optics are on your side so quit stepping on your ***ks with stupid comments.

    Sorry everyone; I’m just very frustrated this morning with baseball… Btw; no MLB-MLBPA meetings scheduled today… No hurry guys… Take your time..

    1. Hawkeye, I feel your pain but I consider everything that’s put out there by either side as negotiating tactics, ugly as they are. Both sides are pushing back in the ultimate hope of meeting in the middle. The battle is over where exactly the “middle” will be. For true baseball fans, excruciating. For nominal fans, they’ll turn to the next diversion.

      1. Romus, as far as organization payroll is concerned, yes I also believe Middleton. Without explicitly showing the books for public consumption, he’s at least stating what can be corroborated in approximation. My concern is how the Realmuto negotiations will be impacted once those league wide restrictions are lifted. I can’t see how player salaries aren’t directly related to revenue as I’ve read some suggest.

      2. One related question though…how much more will sponsors pay for advertising on TV? And will there be advertising posted in the seating areas, behind home plate, behind the batter from either dugout shot, and in the outfield seats for HRs and flyball shots. It has to be a consideration, no?

        1. 8mark….not a clue if they can add advertisements beyond what their contract already calls for…..perhaps they can modify the contract due to the crisis.
          And i really do not understand why they cannot have fans…limit the capacity taking in social spacing.

      3. When teams say “losses” are we talking vs projected revenue that won’t be realized? For business tax purposes that’s a loss but Accounting 101 it’s not.

  11. Word from Baseball America is that in lieu of minor league action, the Arizona Fall League may be extended, so much so that it could begin within weeks of MLB’s opening day. Top prospects who don’t open the season on the big league roster would stay fresh for possible call ups.

  12. Just a bit of a warning on Bitsko. The stories about him remind me of the stories about outfielder Jeff Jackson, a HS outfielder that no one had heard of till he suddenly burst on the scene after a strong senior year.

    Not much was known about him but reports began to surface, though few had seen him often. His pick was a colossal mistake, one that set the franchise back for a long time. With only 4 picks this year, they really need to get this one right. Look, a 98 MPH fastball is always enticing but…it sure seems that he might be a creation directed by a team hoping someone else will jump in and pick him, thus possibly letting a player said team really wants to slip to their drafting position.

    Reggie Taylor is another guy who comes to mind, same MO as Jackson. College players are much more defined in my mind, the book is thicker on them, especially this year.

    1. Pretty compelling take, CalDream. And with the Phillies supposedly being a team with interest, they could conceivably be the one that “created” his helium. Kiley McDaniel is a sharp analyst, however. He may be savvy to that gamesmanship. But your suggestion is plausible in any case. Good post.

      1. Scouting and evaluations are so much more advanced, that you cannot compare how they scouted 30 years vs today’s methods .
        Granted you will have misses, but now there are more eyes on the kids along with tons of video and data for comparable review. Probably the biggest obstacle for a team to overcome, is the situation at the draft when a team gets into a paralysis by analysis with all the available data.

        1. Romus is correct. Scouting is so more analytically driven now (as opposed to 30 years ago). Bitsko’s Rapsodo #s are off the charts.

          Mr. Dreamer … I probably should have described Bitsko’s situation more thoroughly. He was a well known 2021 prospect who reclassified to the 2020 draft this winter. Scouts hadn’t done as much scouting of him last summer during the showcase circuit because, at that time, he wasn’t available for the 2020 draft. After reclassifying, Bitsko never got the opportunity to pitch in a game this spring because COVID-19 hit before the HS season in PA.

  13. Yesterday, the owners rejected the players’ proposal for starting the season. They also stated that they have no intention of offering a counter proposal.

    Later in the day, two team executives, Dick Williams (Reds’ President of Baseball Ops) and David Stearns (Brewers President of Baseball Ops) made optimistic comments. One stated that he believed an agreement was “very close”, and the other stating “I firmly believe we are going to have baseball this season”.

    The latest,biggest stumbling block is the length of the season.

    Keep in mind that the owners want to pro-rate the season on the number of games. A shorter season means two-thirds of the players receive no compensation past the last day of the regular season. A 48-54 game season saves the owners a lot of money.

    Even an expanded post-season is only going to add four more teams. Over half of the players will still be taking big cuts.

    Now, we’ve seen it reported that baseball makes most of its TV revenue in the post season. An expanded playoff format is expected to increase television revenue from $777,000,000 to $1,000,000,000.

    Does any of that make it to the players? Lets see how the post-season bonus pools are set up. This is directly from the current CBA. Article X.

    ARTICLE X—World Series, League Championship Series, Division Series, and Wild Card Game Players’ Pool

    A. Creation of Pool
    One Players’ pool shall be created from the World Series, the two League Championship Series, the four Division Series, and the two Wild Card games. Contributions shall be made into the pool as follows:

    (1) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 4 World Series games;
    (2) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 4 games of each League Championship Series;
    (3) 60% of the total gate receipts from the first 3 games
    (4 if the Division Series is expanded to the best of 7 games) of each Division Series; and (4) 50% of the total gate receipts from each Wild Card Game after deducting the traveling expenses of the visiting Clubs (up to a maximum of $100,000 per Club) from the total gate.

    The pool created from the gate receipts above are distributed as follows.

    B. Distribution of Pool
    The Players’pool shall be distributed to the Players, by Club, as follows:
    World Series Winner……………………………..36%
    World Series Loser……………………………….24%
    League Championship Series Losers (2)…24%
    Division Series Losers (4)………………………13%
    Wild Card Losers (2)……………………………….3%

    The pools are guaranteed to be no lower than an agreed upon amount.

    D. Guarantee of Pool
    (1) World Series Winner: $4,608,000; World Series Loser $3,072,000
    (2) League Championship Series Losers: $3,072,000 ($1,536,000 each)
    the amount to be distributed to such losers shall be increased to $3,072,000 ($1,536,000 each). (3) Division Series Losers: $1,664,000 ($416,000 each)
    (4) Wild Card Losers: $384,000 ($192,000 each)
    (5) If, during the term of this Agreement, the Clubs raise World Series ticket prices, the guarantees set forth above paragraphs (1), (2), (3) and (4) shall be increased a pro rata amount, such amount established by averaging the percentage increase of a box seat ticket and the percentage increase of a reserved seat ticket and increasing each guarantee by such percentage.

    So, gate receipts need to provide the $21,248,000 needed to create all the players’ shares pools.

    But, what about the post-season TV revenue? I can find no direct to players post-season TV revenue stream. So, of course the players would rather play more regular season games. It doesn’t benefit most of them to play a short season with expanded playoffs.

    (Note: The only mention I could find regarding TV revenue was as part of the revenue sharing among the teams, and that didn’t include post-season. I’m would think that their “Central Revenue” portion of their revenue sharing includes regular season TV revenue and that these monies are used to pay salaries. But, it looks like post-season TV revenue might be completely separate.)

    1. Am I reading this right; if more games are played in the playoffs more $ can be made by owners and players? Mmmm. Do I see longer a series each time?

      1. Well right now more playoffs means more dollars to only the owners and not the players who are paid mostly out of gate receipts. This is why MLB owners want fewer actual games (when they have to play the player salaries) and more playoffs.

    2. Jim, Thanks. This is a clear and detailed summary I have seen no where else. Great job and much appreciated!

  14. Today is June 5. I would have to think there’s at least a silent deadline for a verdict on 2020. My guess is next Friday June 12 at the latest. I also think the 2 sides are closer than is being portrayed. It’s all gamesmanship and negotiation tactics to this point. A compromise seems likely. In the end, I say 82 games is the meeting point.

    1. I hope you are correct 8mark, but I am more convinced there will be no season. Both sides are holding 2020 hostage to get a leg up on 2021 CBA. It’s a travesty, but baseball does not have good labor relations. I think players are overly PO’D at the lack of free agent bonanzas the past 2 seasons, and we are in for a labor stoppage before a new CBA is approved. The laundry list will be large. Elimination of Comp pick for FA signings, reduced service time to reach FA, 26 man rosters, and a NL DH for starters.

  15. Gentlemen help me out; it seems the Commissioner of Baseball may have the power to step in and implement a season under the CBA and last March’s pay agreement but he’s reluctant due to the unheard action of this previously never having been done. If Thelma (owners) and Louise (MLBPA) are driving baseball of a cliff isn’t his duty to 1). give them a date to agree or 2), he steps in by his power as Commissioner and implements a season/pay structure? If he doesn’t have this card to play then I’m for the first time very discouraged. Jeff Passan at ESPN did as best a job as possible breaking down what monetarily were talking here between the two sides and it was $326 million dollars. One month salary (he goes by the premise the players will play for a prorated salary of 82 games vs the owners offer of 50).

  16. I feel bad for SerAnthony. I feel bad for us, the fans, but much more so for him. He will miss 21/2 years, after getting TJ surgery sometime later this month. That is, if all goes well, and it certainly hasn’t thus far. I wish him the best.

    1. matt13…the earliest he could have had it would have been two months ago….he tested the arm in mid March and it failed to respond. So by the time he scheduled it on Dr Andrews calendar it would have been first part of April at the earliest.
      Then came the elective surgery restrictions and doctors could not operate.
      At first I was thinking like you did….he should have did it right away instead of procrastinating about it.
      I assume he can make it back next August at 14 months out from surgery.

  17. Romus. I know surgery is such a personal decision. It looks lije, in hindsight of course, that he should have had it last year. Instead, he opted for an alternative course. In his words, he “was hoping for a miracle!”

    1. Yeah…we really do not know the extent of his injury in the uCL….it worked for Nola and others, but no guarantee it works every time.
      Dr Andrews did recommend the PRP last year so I guess Seranthony could not be held to blame…unless he was lax in the rehab over the off-season.

    1. My thanks to Jim for explaining why the owners prefer the shorter season/expanded playoffs route. I support the players in this showdown because the owners are going to make up lost revenue one way or another over the next couple of years. Whatever the players lose this season will never be made up.

    2. Romus, I wonder if a 48 game schedule would be to the Phillies advantage. I guess it would come down largely to the starting rotation. Howard? Which of Eflin, Pivetta or Velasquez might step forward in a shortened season? Arrieta healthy in a walk year?

      1. 8mark……I can only guess a 48 game schedule will only mean inter-division play.
        12 game vs each opponent in the division….do not see how they can have inter-league for sure or even inter-conference … without equal representation from each team.
        Did they give up the Grapefruit and Cactus league team make-ups?

        1. The one thing that a 48 game schedule could produce that would be of interest to me is next year’s draft position. If the Phillies were to get off to a slow start, they could be buried so deep with no time to rebound that they could end up with a high enough draft slot to take Kumar Rocker, Jack Leiter, or Jaden Hill !!!

          1. Well Hinkie I suppose that is the silver lining….but after what would be 10 grueling years of futility, I am ready to be picking in the later part of the first round.

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