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Nationals' Patrick Corbin posts photo golfing with President Donald Trump

Nationals' Patrick Corbin posts photo golfing with President Donald Trump

A group of Nationals' players took time away from baseball for a Spring Training golf outing with President Donald Trump.

Pitcher Patrick Corbin posted the photo Sunday on Instagram with Trump along with teammates Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Hudson and Trea Turner. 

"So this happened today ... got to golf with the President! @realdonaldtrump," he wrote in the caption.

Washington will have Monday off before they return to the field to play the Marlins. Only 14 exhibition games remain before the beginning of the Nationals' first-ever title defense. 

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MLB return: Latest gulf in player-league negotiations reinforces time is not on baseball’s side

MLB return: Latest gulf in player-league negotiations reinforces time is not on baseball’s side

While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman outlined the league’s pending return to the ice Tuesday, the news began to pop on social media. The baseball players’ union has balked at Major League Baseball’s follow-up proposal, the sides are far apart, and a lot of work remains.

Multiple reports provided the same damning news. Tuesday was previously targeted to deliver some progress since the league’s initial proposal of a 50-50 revenue split was a known non-starter in the players’ view. The second proposal apparently did little to bring the sides closer financially. A significant divide on health protocols also remains, according to reports.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks.

The agreement reached in March -- when spring training stopped and the influence of coronavirus was being better understood -- took roughly two weeks. The climate then was comparatively jovial. Two sides who were long fighting each other realized they needed to be calm and focus on a swift deal to set basic parameters. So, they developed an agreement the players now feel is steadfast and owners feel is malleable.

Which brings the sides back together in late May. They are scrambling. The calendar is setting a crunch on both ends. The later the season starts, the longer it has to go to produce an amount of revenue the players find reasonable. The longer it has to go, the larger the chances it is compromised by a spike of the virus, the weather or unmanageable logistical hurdles. Last, the further the season stretches in 2020, the shorter the break between the end of the year and spring training in 2021.

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Bettman’s comments included a telling timeline. The NHL will not open training camps before July 1. That is when MLB thought it could begin playing games. The league is also using two hub cities for the resumption of what will be their version of the “playoffs” this year. Baseball is trying to play in all 30 host cities. Bettman said the NHL has not determined when the actual games will start because the league will be waiting to see how efforts to contain the virus will proceed. Baseball wants to be full steam ahead in five weeks.

And, remember spring training is a three-week minimum for the players. That’s four starts for starting pitchers. The players will deem that important because they are taking dual risks: they are worried about injury when running back to play; they are worried about their health as it relates to coronavirus.

Could an agreement be reached in the next 10 days, immediately starting cars and sending players onto flights? Yes. Could they be ready by July 1 or the July 4th weekend? Possibly. Is this over? Far from it.

But, is any of that likely? It seems less so after Tuesday.

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Reports: MLB proposes salary cuts for highest-paid players in 2020

Reports: MLB proposes salary cuts for highest-paid players in 2020

Major League Baseball officials held a digital meeting with representatives from the players union Tuesday to lay out an economic plan for salvaging the 2020 season, according to multiple reports.

The league proposed a sliding scale of salary cuts on players’ prorated salaries that would stipulate significant reductions for the game’s highest-paid players.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and Jesse Rodgers reported that while the exact figures of the pay cuts—which would be in addition to the salary reductions agreed upon in March—are unknown, “the highest-paid players under the proposal would receive perhaps less than 40% of their full-season salaries.”

Using Nationals starter Max Scherzer as an example, the ace’s $34.5 million salary for this season would drop to $13.8 million (40 percent of $34.5 million) or lower. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reported that union officials are “very disappointed” with the “massive” pay cuts.

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MLB and the players union are hoping to agree on the parameters for a shortened 2020 season that would likely begin without fans in attendance.

Several teams have begun re-opening their facilities in anticipation of a season being played, but there are several hurdles—economic and health chief among them—that must be cleared before that can happen.

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