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Our Noticias, 5/11/20: MLB owners pushing for player pay cuts; Zoom back to 1997

MLB owners and players will attempt to compromise this week regarding the logistics of an abbreviated 2020 season.

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Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Preparing “recruiting pitch” to undrafted free agents

The Marlins aced the 2019 MLB Draft, but must adapt to unprecedented circumstances this year to continue fortifying their farm system. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed Friday night that the draft is being shortened to five rounds (instead of the usual 40), saving owners some money in the short term while deterring amateur prospects from entering professional baseball. It’s a terrible optic, and a contradictory one, Rosenthal succinctly writes:

The owners promote MLB as the highest level of baseball, yet they are willing to dramatically cut back on the draft, if only for one year, when they already are losing top athletes to other sports.

As a result, the Fish will have only six total picks: No. 3, No. 40, No. 61, No. 75, No. 105 and No. 135.

The massive crop of undrafted free agents ought to be fascinating to follow. Teams are allowed sign them for up to $20,000 apiece with no limit on the total number of players. In situations where players receive equal financial offers from multiple suitors, countless other variables could make the difference.

Draft-eligible prospects in 2020 grew up during the 2000s and early 2010s, when then-Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was the face of baseball. Will they be attracted to the Marlins because of the opportunity to join forces with him? Or will they prioritize franchises with better recent track records of contending at the major league level? Maybe they would be most comfortable reuniting with former teammates and coaches on the pro side?

Revisiting a column from earlier this year, the Marlins can distinguish themselves from the competition by raising minor league salaries. That applies now more than ever, doing right by these players who will fall short of their projected signing bonuses and surely have some anxiety about the imminent economic downturn coming to the U.S.

2020 MLB season proposal nearing finish line

Joel Sherman of the New York Post and Ken Rosenthal report on the general framework that the league has in mind for the regular season. A Monday conference call with all 30 teams is expected to finalize the following details before sending the proposal to the players’ union:

  • Approximately 80-game schedule (78 to 82 games)
  • Early July Opening Day
  • Only matchups between teams in the same region (East/Central/West)
  • Games hosted at MLB stadiums, or if necessary, Spring Training facilities
  • Expanded postseason—seven teams each from AL and NL
  • Universal designated hitter, according to Jim Bowden

The main roadblock to an agreement is the owners’ insistence on reducing major league salaries to compensate for the lack of fan attendance (and the lost revenue associated with it). Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk explains why the players should—and will—resist that.

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