Phillies

MLB, players association finally progressing towards deal for 2020 season

MLB, players association finally progressing towards deal for 2020 season

More than two months after MLB's 2020 season was scheduled to start, the league and the players association made progress towards a deal to play a shortened season, according to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, though an official agreement has not yet been made.

“At my request, [MLB players association chief] Tony Clark and I met for several hours yesterday in Phoenix," Manfred said in a statement Wednesday. "We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today. Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the Clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same.”

A report from MLB Network's Jon Heyman on Wednesday says MLB has proposed a new deal and an agreement is "expected to" include prorated pay for the players, and include an expanded postseason:

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the deal is for a 60-game season beginning on July 19, with full prorated pay:

The players association itself clarified that an agreement has not yet been reached:

Heyman also reports that the players association has agreed to waive any grievances as part of the deal: 

The main sticking point between the league and the players during the stalemate was money. The players already agreed to receive prorated salaries back in March, and didn't want to take an additional pay cut, while the league proposed different plans that would've paid players 50% or 75% of the prorated salaries, with varying game totals.

Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper was among many players who publicly discussed whether players would be amenable to a second pay cut.

An expanded postseason has also been considered a necessary part of any deal that would see baseball played this season. The specifics of the expanded postseason remain unclear, though a 14-to-16-team postseason has been frequently discussed during the stalemate.

After weeks and months of general nothingness, it feels like we're finally seeing the league and the players association move in the right direction.

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Phillies' lineup for their return at Yankee Stadium after a week off

Phillies' lineup for their return at Yankee Stadium after a week off

For the first time in eight days, the Phillies are playing a game. Here is their lineup for tonight's 7:05 p.m. game at Yankee Stadium:

1. Andrew McCutchen LF
2. Rhys Hoskins 1B
3. Bryce Harper RF
4. J.T. Realmuto C
5. Didi Gregorius SS
6. Jean Segura 3B
7. Jay Bruce DH
8. Scott Kingery 2B
9. Adam Haseley CF

Some notes:

• McCutchen went 0 for 9 in the first two games of the season and sat the third. He impressed in the field with a sliding grab.

• Hoskins walked seven times in the opening series. Despite the Phillies being off a full week, he trails only Mike Yastrzemski (11) and Freddie Freeman (9) in the NL in walks.

• Harper and Realmuto each hit three-run homers in the Phillies' lone series of 2020.

• Gregorius returns to the Bronx, where he played the last five seasons and had three years of 20-plus home runs. He's hit two solo shots in the early going.

• Segura is 2 for 12 so far. He chased several pitches out of the zone against the Marlins.

• Haseley went 4 for 6 with two doubles in his lone start last Sunday, setting himself up for more work out of the leadoff spot when McCutchen rests.

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Phillies’ season resumes tonight with major challenge against Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium

Phillies’ season resumes tonight with major challenge against Gerrit Cole at Yankee Stadium

The only pitcher last offseason who joined a new team on a contract richer than Zack Wheeler’s was Gerrit Cole, the ace the Phillies face tonight at Yankee Stadium. 

Cole, who's won his first two starts this season, is a major challenge on any night but particularly when his 98 mph fastball and filthy breaking ball are being thrown to hitters who haven’t seen live pitching in eight days like the Phillies. The Phils’ bats likely need to shake off some rust. Good luck with that tonight. 

Cole signed a nine-year, $324 million contract in December just days after the Phillies signed Wheeler for $118 million over five years. The other big-name pitcher on the market was Stephen Strasburg, who followed a historic postseason by re-upping with the Nationals for $245 million over seven years. Cole’s AAV is $36 million, Strasburg’s is $35 million and Wheeler’s is $23.6 million. It will be interesting to see which starting pitcher gives his team the best bang for its buck over these next five years.

While Cole’s deal is for $11 million less than Bryce Harper’s in total, his AAV is much higher than Harper’s $25.4 million. Given that a position player plays five times more games in a normal season than a starting pitcher, Harper could end up providing his team more value during the life of his contract than Cole ... but let’s talk again in a decade.

If Cole indeed helps the Yankees win their first World Series since 2009 and second this millennium, nobody will question whether he was worth the money. Think back to that offseason before ‘09 when the Yankees committed $423.5 million to free agents CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. 

Teixeira hit just .248 with the Yankees with an .822 OPS, far below expectations. But he also was the AL MVP runner-up in 2009 and the Yankees won it all his first season. 

Burnett had a 4.79 ERA in 98 career starts with the Yankees. But he also dominated the Phillies in Game 2 of the 2009 World Series to prevent his team from falling behind, at home, 2-0.

Big picture, both were worth it simply for the result of that season. The Yankees’ expectation with Cole is to win more than once, but even one title would probably make the deal worthwhile. 

The Phillies, with Harper, are a lot farther away, both because they haven’t acquired and/or developed young talents like Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres, but also because the Yankees have probably the best bullpen in baseball and the Phillies might have the worst. Pay close attention to that in the four games this week. The Yankees have elite lefties Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton, devastating righty Adam Ottavino and flamethrowing Tommy Kahnle. All four would be, by far, the best pitcher in a Phillies bullpen that has only one somewhat proven late-inning reliever: Hector Neris.

The Yankees have been ahead of the curve over the last handful of years building deep and uber-talented bullpens. And while it’s been more than a decade since they won it all, their GM Brian Cashman has done a remarkable job of building a major-market powerhouse that develops as well as it spends.

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