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Major League Baseball Headlines News & Notes

March 9, 2020

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On Monday, Major League Baseball held a conference call with the 30 team owners to discuss how the league should proceed given the spread of coronavirus. Earlier in the day, Nippon Professional Baseball announced it would delay the start of the regular season, from March 20 until “mid-April,” due to the obvious health risk associated with large gatherings, per longtime baseball scribe Jim Allen. MLB will not follow NPB’s suit, at least not at this point, and instead intends to play out the spring training schedule before proceeding with the regular season as previously planned.

The Cleveland Indians have done everything this offseason from discuss a contract extension with Francisco Lindor to shop him in trade talks, but it sounds like it will be status quo for the star shortstop in 2020.

Lindor told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic on Monday that he informed the Indians last week that he is no longer open to discussing a contract extension. Lindor says he never really felt like the two sides were close to a new deal despite discussing one this offseason.

“We had good conversations. We couldn’t come up with an agreement,” Lindor said. “So we put that aside and let’s focus on winning.” The Indians don’t need to sign Lindor to an extension or trade him just yet, as he is still under team control for two more years.

On Monday the Los Angeles Dodgers announced Clayton Kershaw would be the team’s Opening Day starter, which came as a sliver of a surprise considering Walker Buehler is now very clearly the team’s up-and-coming ace.

But Kershaw is still Kershaw, regardless of his playoff performances and nagging injuries that have seemed to affect him over the last four years. That’s why he sat down with Buehler and manager Dave Roberts to discuss the plan of action.

The left-hander is more than right to not want a “charity” Opening Day start, so it was the team’s best course of action to talk this through.

In a roundabout way, Christian Yelich will be a Milwaukee Brewer until 2042.

According to the Associated Press, the Milwaukee Brewers will be paying the All-Star outfielder’s new nine-year extension worth up to $215 million until he turns 50 years old. Each year will see $4 million deferred from his $26 million annual salary from 2022 to 2028.

The AP added: “The deal includes a $20 million mutual option for 2029 with a $6.5 million buyout, and $2 million of the buyout would be deferred.”

Nippon Professional Baseball has made the decision to postpone the start of its regular season as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the league announced on Monday afternoon.

The decision comes nine years after the 2011 campaign was postponed in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

“We’ve decided to postpone the start of the season,” NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito said during a news conference. “We’d like to prioritize playing 143 games with the fans. We will listen to the experts’ advice and we would like to open the season by at least the end of April.”

Earlier Monday, NPB and the J. League held a meeting of their joint task force, which was created to help the leagues make informed decisions amid the crisis.

The task force, a rare collaborative effort between Japan’s two biggest professional sports circuits, consulted with its expert panel of three medical professors, who advised the leagues to reconsider holding games as scheduled next week.

Doug Glanville played nine MLB seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers in the midst of the steroid era. Naturally, what he had to say in his latest column for ESPN will certainly make its rounds.

With the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal still raw for many, Glanville’s stance will spur even more debate. He expresses a clear belief that performance-enhancing drugs harmed individual players across baseball far more than sign-stealing ever could.

Glanville spoke about his time in Philadelphia and how he eventually lost his job to Marlon Byrd, who was hit with two suspensions — the latter of which was 162 games — for banned substances.

“The inequities of PED use make it personal. With the proliferation of PEDs, there was always a chance you could be supporting a teammate who was using in order to replace you — even if that was not his original intent,” he wrote.

The first thing you notice about Gerrit Cole is the size of his hands—large enough that they resemble Virginia hams when balled up. Everything about Cole suggests he’s an old-school bruiser, not tapered and chiseled like, say, Giancarlo Stanton or a CrossFitter like Noah Syndergaard. And unlike the New York Mets right-hander, Cole hasn’t nicknamed himself after an action-hero Norse god.

If anything, Cole is more like the Marlboro Man, a billboard of gimmick-free confidence.

He’s supposed to end the New York Yankees’ 11-year championship drought, and that was even before a run of spring training injuries that have left the Bombers without James Paxton and Luis Severino, two front-line starters. But Cole isn’t fazed. When he says, “I’m ready for all of it,” he means the weight of that nine-year, $324 million contact, an impatient fan base and the phalanx of reporters who’ll follow him around all summer.

The Nationals finished a procedural move with Juan Soto on Saturday when they “renewed” his pre-arbitration contract for $629,400, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.

Soto remains under team control as he enters his third major-league season. He normally would be arbitration-eligible in 2022, but his “Super-2” status should make him arbitration-eligible this offseason. His contract will roar upward beginning then.

At this stage, he has little to no leverage in baseball’s team-friendly system which sets team-control salary numbers largely on service time. The Nationals can discuss with the player and agent what that side would like to do, but do not have to enter a full negotiation since there is no recourse for the player.

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